Have your say on short-term holiday lets in Edinburgh - Cllr Neil Gardiner

When I’m out and about in Edinburgh just now it’s good to see, with Covid restrictions easing, more visitors safely enjoying our beautiful city again.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 7:00 am
Airbnb locks affixed to the wall of an Edinburgh tenement

We want all those who stay in any area of Scotland’s stunning and historic Capital to have the best possible experience and, particularly during busy periods, we must also balance this with the needs of our residents as well.

Did you know that almost a third of all short-term lets (STLs) in Scotland are in Edinburgh? This is undoubtedly putting pressure on house prices and rents and taking much-needed houses out of supply as well as causing well-reported issues such as anti-social behaviour. The proliferation of STLs in some areas has been described as the “hollowing out” of communities. As well as impacting our existing communities this could have an impact on our future economy if people can’t afford to live in Edinburgh.

So, we’re delighted that after our SNP-led council administration’s successful call for powers to deal with STLs, Scottish Government legislation’s now in place to allow us to make Edinburgh a STL control area.

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Cllr Neil Gardiner is planning convener at Edinburgh City Council

Following the council’s “Choices” consultation for the next local development plan – City Plan 2030 – responses showed an overwhelming support for us to look at control areas so our consultation to define the control area is asking if you agree that “the whole of Edinburgh should be a STL control area” which will start shortly.

If, following the outcome of the forthcoming consultation, we put this proposal to the Scottish Government and they agree with our approach, the new powers would mean that many properties in Edinburgh would automatically require a “change of use” from planning to obtain a licence to run a STL. Meanwhile, The Scottish Government is currently consulting on legislation to introduce a new licensing regime and it’s proposed this should be introduced next October.

Please be assured that the control area wouldn’t generally apply where you’re renting out a room/s in your house or letting your home while you’re on holiday. Our concern focuses on the loss of housing and the impact on residential communities of short-term lets.

If a home has been changed to secondary letting and continually operated as a STL for more than ten years, planning permission is also not required.

As both Planning Convenor and Pentland Hills Ward Councillor, hearing from communities and individuals right across Edinburgh, I know this is a really important issue for many people in all areas of the city and we’re really keen to hear your views whether you’re a resident or represent an industry body.

We’ll carefully consider the feedback you give us before the proposal is finalised as the impact of STLs can be felt in communities across Edinburgh. I’d really appreciate it you would please take the time to give us your own views when the consultation starts in the next couple of weeks.