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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Edinburgh to become Scotland’s first short-term lets control zone

The move aims to crack down on Airbnb-style accommodation, which has exploded in the city in recent years, and preserve the character of neighbourhoods.

It means anyone letting out an entire residential property which is not their principal home on a short-term let basis will have to apply for “change of use” permission through the planning process.

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Council leaders say around a third of all short-term lets in Scotland are found in Edinburgh.

Keylocks are a familiar sight across Edinburgh, which critics say has been blighted by Airbnb short-term lets

The new control area will come into force in September.

SNP Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “Edinburgh was the first local authority in Scotland to propose a short-term let control area and Scottish Government approval represents a major step forward.

“We have committed to give local authorities the powers to address concerns about the impact of commercial short-term letting in their communities, should they want to do that.

“This is an example of that local choice in action – supported by the majority of respondents to the council’s consultation on the proposed designation.

“I recognise the important role which short-term lets play as a source of flexible and responsive accommodation for tourists and workers, which brings many benefits to hosts, visitors and our economy.

“However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hot spots, high numbers of lets can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in.

“The Scottish Government considers that the council has adequately considered and responded to concerns raised before seeking approval of the control area designation. We have concluded that the proposed designation would be reasonable.”

Cammy Day, leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said it was “the news we have been waiting for after years of leading the way in campaigning for change”.

He said: “I am delighted that ministers have now, finally, answered our calls. It paves the way for Edinburgh becoming the first short-term let control area in Scotland.

“For far too long, too many homes have been lost in our city to the holiday market.

“In fact, around a third of all short term lets in Scotland are here in the capital, so their associated issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise have a detrimental effect on many of our residents.

“Plus, we have unique housing pressures in Edinburgh, with a small but densely populated city centre and a fast growing population.

“Combined with the surge in visitors we receive for the festivals, this has always resulted in high demand for accommodation in the month of August.

“This change to policy and will help us to control the number of properties being unsuitably used in this way and help us to better balance housing supply for local people all year round, without stopping people from renting out rooms to performers during the festivals.

“We will now progress implementing the changes and the next step should be looking at whether we can apply a cap on numbers, too.”

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