Edinburgh could ban Airbnbs in apartment buildings if new plans materialize

A consultation on the desirability of making the whole of Edinburgh a short-term rental control area has been launched by Edinburgh City Council.

Earlier this week, the council presented a draft proposal to designate the entire city as a short-term rental control zone (STL).

The new proposals could mean Airbnbs are potentially banned in rental properties in the capital.

If, following the consultation, the council gives the go-ahead and the proposal is approved by the Scottish Government, the new powers would mean that all residential properties that are not the primary residence of an owner and are let in as an STL in its entirety, would then require the approval of a ‘change of use’ towards an STL by Planning.

At present, very few short-term rental properties apply for a building permit in Edinburgh – those that do are often thrown back on shared stairs, meaning town planning laws could be used to essentially ban apartments to function as Airbnb-style short-term rentals.



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The move is seen as a step in the fight against housing availability in the Scottish capital. It is understood that the lack of housing for city dwellers has been exacerbated by the explosion of STLs.

It is also believed to be a measure to ensure that the character and aesthetics of a community are not hampered by STLs taking over their territory.

The council says that right now an enforcement team is looking at each case individually, which they say can be a “very long and tedious process.” This new step is supposed to speed up the process.

It is also believed that the move will help restrict or prevent STLs in places or types of buildings where they are not appropriate, as well as ensure that homes are used to the best of their ability in their areas.

But if a house has been turned into a secondary rental and continuously operated as an STL for more than 10 years prior to the implementation of an STL control zone and no enforcement action has been taken during this period , then the building permit is not required.

It has been stated that in general renting one or more rooms in your home or renting your property while on vacation would still be allowed if Edinburgh becomes an STL control area.

Cllr Neil Gardiner, Head of Planning, said: “Last year we welcomed the success of our call for new Scottish government legislation to control STLs. If the proposals are approved by the planning committee, we will be able to go ahead and ask our residents, industry and other interested groups for their views on the possibility of making the move. Edinburgh set an STL control area. We will carefully consider these comments before the proposal is finalized, as the impact of STL can be felt in communities in Edinburgh.

“If the Scottish Government approves the whole town as an STL control area, we will be able to manage the number of STLs in the town, as properties rented in these areas would automatically require a ‘change of use’ building permit. “in place. It is also good news that the Scottish Government is proposing that when people apply for a license we can ask for proof that they have that building permit. It is something that we are very keen to do. and our responses to the “Choices” consultation for our next local development plan – “City Plan 2030” – showed overwhelming support for the Control Zones.

“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. “

The Scottish government is believed to be consulting on legislation to introduce a new licensing regime next year to address issues of safety, anti-social behavior and noise.

These issues have had a detrimental effect on communities, as the number of SLIs has dramatically increased across the city in recent years.

The proposal is that all Scottish councils will have to adopt an STL licensing system by October 2022.

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