Edinburgh Airbnbs could be banned from apartments in control zone plans

ALL of Edinburgh could become a control zone for short-term rentals – paving the way for a potential ban on Airbnb properties in apartment buildings if deemed inappropriate by planning rules.

Scottish government regulations agreed ahead of the Holyrood election gave councils the opportunity to present plans to become an area of ​​control.

The plans were approved by the MSPs despite concerns expressed that SNP ministers could essentially veto any plans made by local authorities.

Edinburgh City Council has presented draft plans for all residential properties in the city, which are not an owner’s main house, which are used as short-term rentals, would need a change permit of use to operate.

Currently, very few short-term rental properties apply for a building permit in Edinburgh. Those who do are often thrown back down the shared stairs, meaning town planning laws could be used to essentially ban apartments from operating as Airbnb-style short-term rentals.

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But the houses that were turned into a secondary rental through town planning laws and that were used as short-term rentals for over 10 years before the deployment of the control zone, and did not make it. subject to no enforcement action, will be allowed to continue without planning. authorisation.

For most people, renting a room in your home or renting your property while on vacation would also still be allowed if Edinburgh became a short-term rental control area.

The council is launching a consultation on its plans and will need the approval of SNP ministers.

About a third of short-term rental properties in Scotland are in Edinburgh. Currently, in addition to planning requests made for short-term rentals, to determine whether or not a building permit is required for properties where this is in dispute, the council’s enforcement team reviews each case individually, which is a very long and tedious process. .

Neil Gardiner, the council’s planning officer, said: “Last year we welcomed the success of our call for new Scottish government legislation to control short-term rentals. “If the proposals are approved by the planning committee, we will be able to move forward and ask our residents, industry and other interested groups for their views on the possibility of making the decision. ‘whole of Edinburgh a short-term check. area.

“We will carefully consider these comments before the proposal is finalized, as the impact of short-term rentals can be felt in communities in Edinburgh.”

He added: ‘If the Scottish Government approves the whole town as a short-term rental control area, we will be able to manage the number of short-term rentals in the town, as properties rented in these areas would automatically need to be rented out. have a “change of use” building permit in place. “Combined with the proposed licensing scheme which is to be introduced next year, if approved, this step forward is a direct response to our hard work to push for the powers that we know we must provide to our communities. city-wide. ”

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