Checks on Airbnb considered statistics show a threefold increase in ads

Scottish ministers are preparing to crack down on short-term rentals such as Airbnb after a consultation found support for tighter regulations.

It came as independent research highlighted major concerns about the impact on communities in hot spots such as Edinburgh, East Neuk of Fife and Skye.

The number of active Airbnb listings across Scotland as a whole has tripled from just under 10,500 in 2016 to around 32,000 in May 2019.

Cartoon by Camley: Andy Wightman denounces the Scottish government’s inaction on AirBnBs.

Four hosts with portfolios of over 100 properties accounted for about 8% of all listings, or nearly 2,500 listings in total.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish government would “carefully review the evidence” before coming forward with its proposals later this year.

He said: “Short-term rentals can offer people a flexible and cheaper travel option, and have positively contributed to the Scottish tourism industry and local economies across the country.

“However, we do know that in some areas, especially tourist hot spots, a high number of short-term rentals cause problems and often make it difficult to find accommodation.

“Responses to our consultation confirm support for new controls on short-term rental of residential properties in these problem areas. ”

A Scottish government consultation found that a majority of respondents were in favor of regulation for short-term rentals in one form or another.

Options included a registration or licensing regime, as well as a system of enforcement and penalties for owners or owners.

An annual limit on the number of days a property can be rented has also been proposed, although this has attracted less support.

Over 1,000 responses were received, with communities, landlords and businesses raising a number of concerns regarding the effects of short-term rentals, including antisocial behavior, fears for safety and the impact on the housing market. lodging.

Meanwhile, separate research released by the government also raised concerns about housing, with indications that properties were moving from long-term private rentals and owner-occupancy to short-term rentals. .

He noted: “This has been expressed as a major concern in Edinburgh, Fort William and Skye due to the impact this has been seen to have on housing shortages and affordability.

“In Edinburgh and in the East Neuk of Fife, the increase [short-term lets] has been associated with declining resident population and school enrollment, with concerns about the long-term sustainability of the community.

Concerns have also been raised about noise, litter and anti-social behavior in properties such as Edinburgh apartment buildings.

But the benefits were also highlighted, with Airbnb welcoming around 1.6 million visitors to Scotland last year.

Research found that Edinburgh and the Highlands accounted for 50.5% of all Airbnb listings in Scotland.

Nationwide, Airbnb ads only made up 1.2% of homes, but in Skye that figure rose to 18.6% – the highest neighborhood penetration rate in Scotland.

Statistics previously suggested that nearly half of all Elijah and Earlsferry homes in Fife’s East Neuk are vacation homes.

The majority (69.2%) of Scottish Airbnb listings consisted of entire properties rather than rooms. Most hosts (76%) only had one Airbnb listing, but those listings represented less than half (45%) of the total listings in Scotland.

A very small proportion of hosts (0.3%) owned or acted as agents for a much larger proportion of total registrations (13%).

An Airbnb spokesperson said, “Airbnb is built on the principles of building communities and spreading the benefits of tourism to families and local businesses.

“While customers using Airbnb represent just 3% of visitors to Scotland, our community boosted the Scottish economy by over £ 693million last year alone, generating new and sustainable revenue streams which unlike other forms of tourism, stay in the communities where clients stay. .

“We want to be good partners with Scotland, which is why we recently announced our support for a simple, free, online registration system in communities that need it, extending planning requirements to professional rentals. hosting more than 140 nights per year and supporting a levy tourism for communities that want it.

“Airbnb has long led the way in supporting home sharing rules in Scotland and we are keen to continue this collaboration, based on our experience working with over 500 governments around the world. ”

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