East Lothian: Owner Airbnb flat ordered to shut down after operating 'unlawfully'

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An application for change of use was rejected over concerns approval would lead to more similar applications in the area.

The owner of an Airbnb flat which has been operating for eight years in Musselburgh has been ordered to stop renting it out or face enforcement action.

It has been operating as a holiday let since 2015 but when owner Erica Blackette applied for a retrospective change of use from residential to holiday let from East Lothian planners they refused.

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They have warned the first floor flat in the town’s New Street flat is operating unlawfully and will face enforcement action if it continues to be let out for short term use.

The flat owner could face enforcement actionThe flat owner could face enforcement action
The flat owner could face enforcement action

In a report into the application planning officers said the holiday let was ‘incompatible and harmful’ to the amenity of other residents in the block. and stated a number of Airbnbs in the area that have been operating for years have caused problems for residents.

The two-bedroom flat which is in a block of eight with six of them, including the Airbnb, sharing a communal entrance and stairwell. It costs £110 a night to rent for up to four guests on Air BnB.

In a report planners said: “The property as a holiday let is unauthorised and a breach of planning control.

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“Enforcement action will be taken to ensure the cessation of the holiday let use with the period for compliance being three months.”

In the officer’s report the said Ms Blackette had said the flat had been used for short term lets since 2015 with stays lasting between two days and 21 days.

Officers said: “Stays are usually arranged by the applicant’s friend and guests are met and shown around the property.

“The flat is accessed via a shared front entrance and stairwell with five other residential properties and has one parking space within an existing parking area.”

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They said one representation was received which objected the the use of the flat as a business instead of a home and raised concerns approval would lead to numerous more similar application in the area.

They said: “There are already a number of Airbnbs in the area which have been operating for a few years and which have caused problems to residents particularly during lockdown.”

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