DOZENS of properties across the capital thought to be operating at Airbnb-style short-term lets against strict planning rules have been hit with warning letters from the City Council.
The warning comes as analysis from the Chartered Institute of Housing reveals that there are now “two Airbnb lets for every 13 homes within the city centre ward”. A report to councillors warns that “there were over 12,000 registered Airbnb properties in Edinburgh in 2018” – a rise of around 3000 within the space of a year.
Council officials have now written to 40 owners of flats at Western Harbour, “highlighting the permissions and other various legal requirements they may be breaching and requiring that the use cease”.
The council says that “early indications are that the trial may be worth continuing”.
Housing and economy convener, Cllr Kate Campbell, has blasted the explosion of short-term lets in the Capital, accusing the trend of “hollowing out communities and taking homes out of housing supply which drives up rents”.
She added: “As a city we’ve been saying for some time that we need the right powers to properly get to grips with this problem so obviously we’re delighted that the Scottish Government has launched a consultation and we’d encourage residents who share our concerns to take part.
“What we really need is a licensing regime so that, instead of using planning powers which limit us to reacting to problems as they arise, we can take a proactive approach and make strategic decisions about limiting the number, concentration and type of property that can be used, and make sure that landlords are fit and proper.”
Conservative group leader, Cllr Iain Whyte, raised concerns that removing all key safes could impact on health and social care services that often rely on them for access.
Cllr Whyte said: “While I do understand they are used by some short-term letting properties, key safes are also used quite extensively throughout the city by care organisations to allow carers access to a key to enter a property.
The council has piloted enforcement action against key safes on listed buildings.