Edinburgh Airbnb neighbors ‘have the final say’ under holiday apartment rule change

Airbnb owners will need the green light from the majority of building neighbors in Scotland’s capital to offer their homes for short-term rental under licensing schemes offered by an influential civil society.

The Cockburn Association, Edinburgh‘s heritage watchdog, said urgent action was needed to control the nascent holiday homeowner industry as the scale and speed of growth of the market outpaces current legislation in terms of housing.

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Professor Cliff Hague, chairman of the association, made the call after the company looked at the rise of the ‘Airbnb phenomenon’ – the upsurge of the short-term rental platform which has brought in nearly 640,000 guests in Edinburgh last year, the typical host earning £4,255 per rented their accommodation 41 days a year.

Airbnb insists it has addressed concerns and supports new industry-wide regulations which it says will help provide “clarity and legal certainty” and crack down on unauthorized operators, while an operator in Edinburgh said a check-in system would prevent anti-social behaviour.

However, Prof Hague said a binding licensing system is needed to ensure proper policing of the rental system.

He said that in rental properties the consent of the majority of owners – excluding the proponent – ​​should be required before a license is granted.

A full licensing service with landlords needing a license first is one option or another is a so called negative licensing process under which all properties would be registered and eligible to offer short rentals but the council would have the power to “prohibit” or “deregister property if a property was mismanaged or deemed unsuitable.

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Prof Hague said there were concerns about how the short-term rental industry is affecting housing availability.

He said that “it is clear that short-term rentals are important and necessary both for tourism purposes but also for wider business support”, but also “in parts of Edinburgh the proliferation of ‘Airbnb has a significant impact on resident amenity and community cohesion.

HeraldScotland: Airbnb.

He said: “There are fears that the stock of available and affordable housing will be reduced and that the character of the old town in particular will be altered.

“The burden of managing the staircase in a building becomes more onerous and falls on the decreasing number of permanent residents.

“As many short-term rentals are in older properties, this poses a long-term threat to the fabric of Edinburgh.

“There are also concerns that commercial rentals are not paying the appropriate rates and taxes.”

Read more: Airbnb launches experiences campaign in Edinburgh

He said: “The Cockburn Association believes that effective regulation is now imperative and is urgently required.

“Short-term rentals must be regulated.

“Regulations need to be put in place urgently.

“While more information is needed on the components of the dramatic increase in properties listed on Airbnb, it seems beyond doubt that not only is change taking place, but the pace of change is rapid and the magnitude is important.

“It’s time to act.”

Residents have also raised concerns about neighbor turnover and Bill Cowan, of Edinburgh’s Old Town Community Council, said short-term permits are “crowding people out”.

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Louise Dickins, whose business rents out self-catering homes in Edinburgh, said all landlords or their agents should register with their local authority and give a 24-hour contact telephone number, so they can be contacted in case of antisocial behavior and for routine repairs.

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “We always welcome discussions on clear rules for home sharing and are delighted that Scotland is taking action to support local families.

“Airbnb guests boost the Scottish economy by £1million a day and we are delighted to be working with the government on clear rules for home sharing, so that more Scots can directly benefit from innovative forms tourism.”

It’s an annual council survey, while 76 per cent said the city’s festivals make it a better place to stay, 6 per cent – up from 0.5 per cent five years ago – think its festivals make Edinburgh a worse place to live, and the question of tackling over-tourism with a tourist tax has again been raised.

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Resident attendance at festivals hit an all-time high of 67%, but the council revealed that “public perception of festivals may have reached a level where it poses a strategic risk to the long-term success of the region. the city”.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “Last year’s festivals broke all records, thanks in large part to the unique 70th anniversary celebrations.

“There is no doubt that this population bulge requires management, but working closely with festivals and other partners, we are looking for ways to support their success.

“It is crucial that festivals remain sustainable and that our services continue to run smoothly, which is also why we will continue to press ahead with our plans to introduce a tourist visitor levy – a levy that will allow the city to benefit more from its own popularity and the council to reinvest funds in priority areas.

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