Airbnb twists allow for a way to go – David Alexander

David Alexander is Managing Director of DJ Alexander

Um, maybe. And then, maybe not.

It was reported last week that one of these owners in the capital – who had hosted more than 10,000 guests – successfully challenged an attempt by Edinburgh City Council to prevent them from subletting four properties , after the annulment of the decision by the government. .

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What seems to have influenced the journalist’s decision is the fact that the four properties were located in the same building, with no permanent residence in the block. Therefore, she concluded, continued use would not result in a significant increase in noise and external nuisance “as local residents will be subject to a significant loss of amenity”.

This may seem like a contradiction given the Scottish government’s pledge, ahead of this year’s Holyrood elections, to give local authorities real powers to control short-term leisure accommodation in their respective areas. Nonetheless, I can see where the Reporter was coming from in this case. It is certainly unusual for an entire building (outside the corporate sector) to be devoted to accommodation of this type and, as such, the only people likely to be disturbed by an increase in interior noise – luggage being frequently hit. up and down in the common staircase to a noisier behavior after drinking – are other short-lived visitors.

However, the key word here is internal. Tourist accommodation – be it hotels, guesthouses or vacation apartments – tends to attract an increase in street noise from a variety of sources. This includes taxis that stop frequently and then “wait” with noisy diesel engines still running before leaving; groups of smokers chatting (and not always quietly) outside the exterior doors; and pedestrians coming and going late at night, not just Friday and Saturday, but also during the work week.

But since the people they host are, after all, on vacation, who can blame them?

Unfortunately, this is often not appreciated by permanent residents who get up at 6:30 am Monday through Friday to prepare for work; who prefer to live side by side with households with roughly similar lifestyles; and who do not want to see the character of their neighborhood undergo significant changes.

It was once said that one of the great advantages of Edinburgh was that it was possible to enjoy all the commercial, social and cultural amenities at your fingertips without any of the inconveniences that usually come with living in the city center. But this is no longer the case.

Earlier last month, the council launched a consultation exercise on short-term rentals in the city – which accounts for 31% of all Airbnb listings in Scotland – and to what extent, if any, these should be controlled. But the cogs of government – both local and national – are moving slowly, and I wonder how long it will be before a policy defined with a strict interpretation of regulations becomes a reality.

Edinburgh has a law enforcement team that looks at individual cases, but since their numbers are limited and each case involves a long process, who knows how many short-stay owners are operating under the radar and getting away with it. no problem ?

Meanwhile, as the number of visitors increases again, short-term rental activity – at a time almost nonexistent during the pandemic – is expected to increase in parallel given the surpluses to be generated. Therefore, perhaps we can expect that more “refusals” of advice will be challenged in court, especially when it comes to a gray area like the one mentioned at the beginning of this article.

David Alexander is Managing Director of DJ Alexander

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