Edinburgh introduces strict rules on Airbnb-style short-term rentals
AIRBNB-STYLE short-term rentals in Scotland’s capital will require special planning permission in a Scottish first.
Edinburgh is home to a third of all short-term rentals in Scotland and the City Council decided earlier this year to limit the number, unveiling plans for landlords to apply for planning permission to change the property’s use from a residential home for a short-term rental.
The Scottish Government has now approved required changes to planning requirements which will see the entire capital become an area of short-term control after local authorities were given new powers last year.
The plans will affect both new and existing properties, although the rules are different for each.
From October, new owners of short-term rentals across Scotland will have to apply to the local council for a license to operate, while existing owners will have until April 2023.
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Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “Edinburgh was the first local authority in Scotland to propose a short-term rental control area and the Scottish Government’s approval is a major step forward.”
She added: “We are committed to empowering local authorities to address concerns about the impact of short-term commercial lettings in their communities, if they wish.
“This is an example of this local choice in action – supported by the majority of respondents to council’s consultation on the proposed designation.
“I recognize the important role short-term rentals play as a flexible and responsive source of accommodation for tourists and workers, which brings many benefits to hosts, visitors and our economy.
“However, we know that in some areas, especially tourist hotspots, high rental numbers can cause problems for neighbors and make it harder for people to find homes to live in.”
The control area will be the first in Scotland to cover the entire city.
Cammy Day, Leader of Edinburgh City Council, said: ‘This is the news we’ve been waiting for after leading the campaign for change.
“I am delighted that ministers have responded to our appeals and we look forward to reviewing all the details included in the decision published today.
“This paves the way for Edinburgh becoming the first short-term control zone in Scotland. For too long, too many homes have been lost in our city to the vacation market.
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“In fact, around a third of all short-term rentals in Scotland are here in the capital, so the associated issues of security, anti-social behavior and noise have a detrimental effect on many of our residents.
“We will now make progress in implementing the changes and the next step should be to determine if we can also cap the numbers.”
The changes were passed unanimously by the council’s planning committee earlier this year, while 85% of respondents to a consultation backed the move.
But Airbnb, one of the world’s leading short-term rental platforms, said tighter regulations could hit the economy hard.
Research from the firm, which would likely be among the hardest hit by tougher rules, suggested it could cost the economy up to £133m and 7,000 jobs.