Eight Airbnb owners banned from renting flats on same street in Edinburgh’s New Town

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The properties had been advertised online but an inquiry ordered them to stop after irate neighbors complained about noise from guests.

Edinburgh City Council officials ruled there had been a breach of planning laws in a crackdown on short-term rentals in the capital.

Airbnb key safes have become a familiar sight in Edinburgh

An investigation found that the capital’s Queen Street apartments were used 25 days a month by customers who had booked using the popular website.

The owners had until the beginning of the month to stop their operations which they also announce on Booking.com and Expedia.

But they launched a joint appeal against the decision to the Scottish government.

Airbnb ban: Queen Street in the New Town

The landlords, who all use a letting agent, argued that no breach had occurred and that they should be allowed to continue renting their properties to visitors.

They said they don’t allow group bookings and avoid stag and hen parties.

The group also said other nearby properties were rented out in the bustling town center and had not been ordered to close.

In a joint appeal document, they said: “Guests are prohibited from allowing any guests or visitors to cause a nuisance, annoyance or inconvenience to neighbours.

“Our clients argue that the use of the property as a short-term residential apartment does not constitute development, as it has not resulted in a material change of use.

“Building permission is only required where development has taken place.

“The council therefore has no reason to take formal enforcement action in respect of the existing use.

“There is no ‘considerable turnover of people over short periods of time,’ as Council referred to in the enforcement notice.”

They added: “The callers consider this apartment to be a well-used and relatively trouble-free visitor facility in a busy location, well located for Edinburgh’s shopping attractions.

“As a result, the appellants consider that the use of this apartment contributes positively to the broad objectives of municipal policy for the vitality of the downtown area.”

In issuing its notice of enforcement, the council said: “Evidence gathered through this investigation has confirmed that the apartment is only used for commercial short break accommodation and is advertised on multiple platforms.

“The significant level of occupancy and turnover is significantly different from residential use.

“Apart from the outside ambient noise, disturbing movements linked to intensive exploitation have been reported to the town hall by local residents.

“The intensive use of short-term rental apartments has led to a deterioration in the living conditions of local residents.

“It is recommended that an enforcement notice be served requiring the termination of the unauthorized change of use.”

A government reporter will render a decision in due course.

A consultation on a new licensing system for short-term let properties will run until August 13. Under the proposed legislation, councils will have until October 1, 2022 to establish a licensing regime, with all short-term rentals to be permitted by April 1, 2024.

Existing hosts and operators must apply for a license by April 1, 2023.

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