Restrictions could be slapped on Airbnb short-term holiday lets in Scotland

Restrictions could be slapped on short term holiday lets after a panel set up to investigate the future of the so-called 'sharing economy' in Scotland unveils its findings to the Scottish Government this week.

Friday, 12th January 2018, 7:25 am
Updated Friday, 12th January 2018, 7:35 am
Airbnb properties could be hit with more restrictions in Scotland

A report into the sector will focus on the future of industries such as the short term letting sector – including companies like AirBnB, which has come under fire from local residents in some areas who claim that the rise of short term lets is ripping the heart out of their communities – as well as ride sharing service Uber.

Economy secretary Keith Brown is this week to meet with panel chair Helen Goulden to discuss the contents of the report, which will be published later this month.

It is likely that the report will recommend a restriction on the number of days that a property can be rented out without applying to the council for an official change of use to a holiday let.

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The government last year commissioned the Scottish Expert Advisory Panel on the Collaborative Economy to examine the issue of the sharing economy. There has been a growing number of complaints in communities where the number of short term lets has rocketed along with the popularity of sites such as AirBnB. Other cities across the world, such as Amsterdam and New York, have already put curbs on the number of nights home owners can rent out their properties without an official change of use to a holiday let.

The Scottish Expert Advisory Panel on the Collaborative Economy was set up last April to provide advice, expertise and experience for policy development on the collaborative economy and make recommendations to Scottish Ministers. Panel members included representatives from Airbnb and Uber, as well as VisitScotland and digital skills body ScotlandIS.

A year ago, Airbnb put a 90-day restriction on properties listed on its site in London which were not registered with the council.

Uber has also faced a backlash in recent months, having had its licence revoked by councils in London, York and Sheffield.

A spokeswoman for AirBnB said: “We always welcome discussions on clear home sharing rules and are pleased that Scotland is taking steps to support local families. Airbnb guests boosted Scotland’s economy by £1 million a day and we want Airbnb to continue to grow responsibly and sustainably, so more Scots can benefit directly from innovative forms of tourism.”

Uber said it would not comment until the report was published.