Airbnb landlord ordered to stop renting two luxury flats in Edinburgh

An Airbnb landlord has been told to stop renting out his luxury holiday flats within a month amid a clampdown on short-term lets in the Scottish capital.

Mark Jackson, who rents out two flats in Warrender Park Terrace, Marchmont, has lost an appeal with the Scottish Government planning reporter after Edinburgh City Council claimed the rentals were impacting on neighbours given the high turnover of guests and the communal garden being used by visitors.

The city council issued an enforcement notice in April given Mr Jackson had not applied for planning permission to change the use of the property from a private residence to short stay commercial accommodation.

Planners found the property had been split into two, with two luxury flats operating in the basement and the first floor, with the high turnover of guests and the use of a communal garden by visitors impacting those who live in the block.

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The council called for the rentals to cease, but Mr Jackson, who agreed the property was being used for holiday lets, appealed to the planning reporter for more time to make a change of use application.

Mr Jackson, who has now made a planning application, lost the appeal with the rentals to cease by August 22.

A decision notice said: “I am satisfied that the resultant effect of a high level of turnover is causing disturbance to the established residential character of the building. This is reflected in the concerns expressed about the property’s use for short stay commercial visitor accommodation.

Concerns were raised over the high turnover of guests at the flats in Warrender Park Terrace, Marchmont, and visitors using the communal garden. PIC: Creative Commons.

The notice added: “In the absence of planning permission, cessation of the current use as short stay commercial visitor accommodation is a reasonable remedy to the breach of planning control that has occurred.”

An investigation by planners confirmed the flats were advertised on Airbnb and Booking.com as Meadowvale Apartment - Luxury with Castle Views and The Bruntsfield Apartment on Meadow Park.

Both properties can accommodate up to 11 guests in total, with the properties occupied 80 per cent of the year.

Edinburgh City Council is clamping down on short-term lets in the capital with the City Centre ward having the highest concentration of Airbnb listings in the country. PIC: Lisa Ferguson/ JPI media.

A council paper said: “In terms of the character of the street, Warrender Park Terrace is a relatively quiet residential street in comparison with streets such as Melville Drive to the north or Marchmont Drive to the east.

"The regular changeover of visitor groups would be more noticeable at a property in this quieter location than in the generally busier streets.”

The document added the use of the garden by visitors had “changed the level of actual and perceived security for permanent residents using this space in a manner that would not otherwise be the case under typical residential circumstances”.

The city council is set to introduce the country’s first short-term control let area, which will require those who have let out properties for less than ten years to have the correct planning permissions in place, with potential to limit holiday rentals in areas of over provision.

The policy is waiting for approval from the Scottish Government, but the council is dealing with a rush of applications from landlords as the order looms.

Recent research found the City Centre ward had the highest rate of active Airbnb listings in the country, amounting to 8.5 per cent of the Scottish total.

Mr Jackson has been contacted for comment.