Euan McGrory: Airbnb hope to avoid legislative crackdown
The old maxim that '˜if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is' is often worth bearing in mind.
That is certainly true when it comes to Airbnb’s offer to start placing restrictions on the use of its phenomenally popular short-term letting platform. Any serious steps to curtail abuses of these kind of services has to be welcomed.
Of course there is nothing at all wrong with anyone making a few quid by renting out their home during the Festival of Hogmanay or whenever they fancy. The problem arises when people use it as a cheap means of running a property rental business, without paying rates that would help support local services and sometimes without any adequate supervision of how the property is used by their guests. In parts of the city centre, this is causing huge disruption to residents.
Airbnb are under fire not just in Edinburgh but other tourist magnet cities including Barcelona where similar concerns are even biggger than they are here. Their offer to restrict how many nights people can hire their property out is not of course purely altruistic. They are trying to see off the threat of tighter - more effective restrictions - being forced on them and their users by law.