What the new regulations may mean for short-term rentals

Stays on Airbnb help boost the local economy by attracting visitors year-round, explains the host.

“The legislation has been slow to come in and should be in place,” says Steven Mitchell, a superhost who has hosted on Airbnb for the past six years.

Her charming one-bedroom apartment in Edinburgh‘s New Town is stylish and desirable, targeting a discerning clientele all year round looking to explore Edinburgh’s delicacies and live like a local.

This, says Steven, is good for the local community.

“There is often a very negative story around Airbnb, but there is also a positive side.”

“I installed a brand new kitchen last year and I don’t think any of my guests have ever used it! They dine out or order for every meal. Spending locally is very good for the local economy, especially after the pandemic. There is often a very negative story around Airbnb, but there is also a positive side.

Besides boosting the local economy, he says the constant flow of international visitors adds a vibrant and cultural element to the new city he loves.

The 55-year-old small business owner has lived on his property for almost 20 years and started using it as a short-term rental when he moved in with a partner six years ago. He was determined to make sure he remained a good neighbor. He has been transparent with people living nearby about his plans, handles all bookings and cleaning himself, meets all guests personally upon their arrival and claims that as a result there is no had no conflict.

But the new rules proposed by Edinburgh City Council and Scottish government legislation put his income at risk, he fears, especially as he says he has been “scared” by the negative experience in some. parts of town.

“It’s an important part of my bread and butter. “

Under the proposals, hosts who do not share the house they live in will need to apply for a building permit in order to operate in places like Edinburgh and other “control zones” across the country. Additionally, all hosts – including those sharing a room in their family home and local guesthouses – will need to obtain a license.

“I think new checks are a good thing, a mechanism that involves registration – and the payment of registration fees – is absolutely fine. I think for people, for example, living in an apartment building where six of the ten apartments are used as short-term rentals, a degree of control that gives them a faster connection with the owners of the apartment for the resolution of everything. problem is important.

“But using the word ‘tenement’ is not the right way to control it. It’s an easy way for the board to throw a whole bunch of properties in the trash and label them all as dwellings, but it throws me in a bucket with all the stairwell problem flats, and I’m not one of them.

Instead of grouping properties by building type, he would prefer a more nuanced approach, with registration being a key element.

“I think a degree of control on the part of the Scottish Council and Government is vital, it has been around for a long time and should be in place. There should be a benchmark to maintain quality and standards.

But whatever regulations are put in place, he wants them to be influenced not only by the type of property or location, but also by how they are managed.

“I am responsible, I am not a ‘ghost host’,” he said. “The focus is often on the negatives of short term rentals in Edinburgh, but I want to convey the positives. We bring a constant stream of new people who want to spend their money in New Town. They bring dynamism to the community, with visitors from all over the world.

“It’s a big part of my bread and butter, and I’m not happy that this source of income can be turned off overnight by the legal term ‘housing’.”

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