HALF of all city centre properties will be holiday lets by 2050 at current rates, new research has revealed.
Projections show 4423 flats and houses in the EH1 postcode, which covers the Old Town and part of the New Town, will be short-term accommodation.
The Scottish Green Party produced the report amid concerns over the effect on the housing market and communities.
“We’re calling for the city council to be able to have the choice and to be able to make decisions about how residential property is used – and that means introducing new use-class orders in the planning system,” said the Greens’ MSP Andy Wightman.
“So for example, if you want to change your flat into a shop, you have to apply for planning consent. If you want to change your flat to a holiday home, you don’t. We want that to be a requirement so that the city council can come to a view on how it wants to see residential property used.”
Owners are currently registering properties for short-term let in the city at the rate of more than nine every month, or 111-a-year.
Across the Capital as a whole, there are 6200 properties available for short-term letting.
Campaigners are concerned short-term lets increase antisocial behaviour, lead to a loss of community and force permanent residents out of areas.
The Scottish Green Party is also concerned that short-term let landlords often escape non-domestic business rates as their properties are classed as residential.
“This means that local government is missing out on essential funding whilst rent-seeking absentee landlords are generating profits,” said Mr Wightman.
Cities including London, Paris and Berlin have introduced regulations on short-term lets.
Grassmarket resident Ross Cowan has seen the number of holiday lets in his block rise from one to three in two years.
“You’ve got noise disruption, you’ve got littering within the stair,” he said.
“The people who are coming in don’t have a degree of care that the residents do.
“For somebody coming into a holiday let, it’s like a hotel without any staff to bother them. They can effectively do what they like because there’s no-one there and nine times out of ten, they do.”
Estate agents, meanwhile, report the market’s impact on housing – with buy-to-short-term-let taking off in the Capital.
“Every time a property goes into short-term, it’s one less permanent home,” said DJ Alexander associate director Rob Trotter.
The housing market faces a double whammy of existing owners wanting to short-term let, and prospective owners buying to do the same, said Mr Trotter. “We’re struggling to find accommodation for residents across the city because of a lack of supply – short-term letting is adding to that pressure,” he added.