Delay in implementing short-term rules leaves shameful mark

The decision to delay the introduction of a scheme which will give Edinburgh more powers to crack down on short-term rentals has been described as ‘shameful’.

Edinburgh councilors have criticized the decision announced last week by the Scottish government in response to the impact of the cost of living crisis.

Operators of Airbnb-style vacation rentals initially had until the end of March to apply for a license – but the deadline has now been pushed back to October 2023.

Representatives of the hospitality industry have opposed the plans, expressing concerns about the impact a licensing system could have on tourism – particularly in the capital where accommodation is in high demand during the festival.

But the council has been keen to introduce new regulations to control the number of short-term rentals (STLs) in a bid to solve Edinburgh’s housing crisis and return thousands of properties to residential use under the last administration and this one. this.

Cllr Neil Ross said Holyrood had “bowed to pressure from commercial landlords at the expense of residents”.

Council leader Cammy Day, Labor, added: ‘The delay for no reason other than commercial gain for a small handful of businesses is shameful.

And he reported he was pressured by Airbnb during the board’s last term to take a “soft approach” to the crackdown.

He added: ‘I think the legislation which many of us in this chamber have campaigned for and which many of our colleagues at Holyrood have campaigned for is good legislation. I think there are unintended consequences that we have to deal with and we have to overcome them.

Scottish Housing Secretary Shona Robison said the deadline extension was unique and urged hosts to keep applying.

As part of the new system, anyone who has rented an entire property in STL for less than 10 years must obtain a planning permit before applying for a permit.

Council is already prepared to refuse change of use where holiday rentals might disturb neighbors and new planning policies are being put in place to introduce a presumption against loss of accommodation.

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said it would ‘effectively introduce a de facto ban on self-catering’.

Reacting to the news that operators now have an additional six months, she said: “The ASSC has been pushing for a pause in the implementation of the program due to the cost of living crisis, so it is good to know that our voices are heard.

“Our ongoing concern, however, is that this is not long enough to give our members the breathing space they need to get their license applications approved in the current climate.”

by Donald Turville

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) is a public service news agency: funded by the BBC, provided by the local news sector and used by eligible partners. Local Democracy Reporters covers leading local authorities and other public service organisations.

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