Short-term rentals: will it be Air today, gone tomorrow? -David Alexander
But credit where it’s due, the council appear to have been true to their word and, moreover, are backed by the Scottish Government when landlords appeal – the most recent example being last week in a case involving two flats in the very popular Marchmont district of the capital.
This is part of what appears to be a backlash against renting apartments for leisure or short-term business stays (although mostly first-timers) in residential blocks or areas. This is undoubtedly what prompted Airbnb to announce recently that it no longer rents properties classified to singles and / or mixed, which cause so much misery for neighbors, especially on weekends.
But the ban on “party apartments” – as these properties have become known – does not resolve the questionable principle of allowing the expansion of “leisure rentals” in buildings that were built primarily as occupied or rented residences. long-term.
Take the “ideal” vacation renter (at least for the owner) – a quiet, middle-aged, non-smoking couple employed in the academic community of a North American university. They’re not the kind of people who are likely to bother anyone, are they?
Well, up to a point, no. Still, most tourists will probably want to venture outside each evening (and being on vacation, why wouldn’t they?), which means extra coming and going in common areas, perhaps late at night . If visitors catch an early return flight, it can mean being woken up by the sound of luggage hitting the stone stairs at 4 a.m. Moreover, the inevitable taxi engine works outside the common entrance for who knows how long. Meanwhile, “changeover days” (common, of course, for vacation rentals) produce more noise – this time from housekeepers, professional or otherwise, preparing the accommodation for the next arrivals.
So not so peaceful after all for permanent residents, especially on weekdays when they have to get up for work.
Until relatively recently, Edinburgh’s vacation rental industry was the preserve of a few reputable agencies and was low-key enough not to pose a social problem. However, the practice has become so unregulated – and widespread – that not only should it not be allowed to continue at its current level, but in fact reversed.
So I hope the city council won’t settle for some sort of compromise that short-term rentals are considered permitted as long as they have planning permission. An abundance of properties used in this way reduces the stock of permanent residences and when demand exceeds supply – which is the current situation and likely to last for the foreseeable future – it inevitably results in higher prices for homeowners. and higher rents for landlords. long-term tenants.
Given that this issue is by no means limited to Edinburgh, either in the UK or on the Continent, I am surprised that the Leeds Building Society has not included holiday rentals as part of a tightening mortgage loans which saw him introduce a ban on loans for second homes.
These purchases are popular at tourist hotspots and other scenic locations near major population centers. However, the level of demand is such that premises are often “overpriced” (often by professional types in cities), especially first-time buyers in generally low-income areas.
That said, it seems worth pointing out that in addition to the relevant LBTT rate, every second home sale in Scotland attracts an additional tax of four per cent of the purchase price, money which (hopefully) helps finance public services. Additionally, there are second homes which, due to their condition or location, would not function as primary residences, so are best used as a weekend retreat rather than fall into disrepair.
David Alexander is Managing Director of DJ Alexander