Airbnb ban for Edinburgh flats after campaign

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A GROUP of landlords have been banned from letting out their Edinburgh flats on AirBnb after fed-up neighbours complained about noise.

The owners let out accommodation in the same block in the Capital on the popular platform for short-stay visits.

There are now more than 9000 Edinburgh properties advertised on Airbnb

There are now more than 9000 Edinburgh properties advertised on Airbnb

But full-time residents complained about disturbance from tourists and visitors in the city’s Bread Street and contacted City of Edinburgh Council.

Their investigators discovered all three flats were being rented out for more than 200 nights per year to paying customers.

The flats all boast of having views of iconic Edinburgh Castle and a central location.

But planning officials ruled they breached guidelines and issued an enforcement notice ordering the lets to 
halt.

READ MORE: Airbnb renter smashes up Corstorphine couple’s family home

The owners – Gill Lee, Peter Cooper, Robin Frowley, and Luke and Jolita Barnes – all appealed to the Scottish Government in a bid to keep their listings going.

They claimed Scotland has 21,900 Airbnb hosts with 9,000 located in Edinburgh providing a massive economic boost to the city.

Documents submitted on behalf of Mr and Mrs Barnes said their two-bedroomed flat can accommodate up to four guests but was not a “party flat”.

They bought it two years ago and pointed out it sits in the Capital’s “Pubic Triangle, an area characterised by busy pubs and bars, lap dancing clubs, and a needle exchange, and is notorious for being associated with the seedier side of the city”.

But they insisted their customers were “older guests and families” who were helping local businesses and not rowdies.

A neighbour who complained about the flats had blasted the owners in a letter to the government.

James Reid said:“As someone who has resided on the stair since 1973 without any disputes whatsoever with any other long-term resident I can testify that the introduction of these mini-hotels has transformed a fairly peaceful residency into a very different premises, and not for the better.”

Reporter Jo-Anne Garrick ruled listing of the flats should stop by January.

READ MORE: Woman to raise cash to fight Airbnb ban

She said: “Taking all the evidence before me and observations at my site inspection, I find that there has been a material change of use.

“I have considered the submissions from the appellants regarding the intensity of the use of the property in comparison to its use by a single household.

“However, I consider the number of arrivals and departures, the likelihood of increased noisy activity late in the evening, increased activity as a result of the cleaning of the property and the likelihood of an increased use of the communal drying area, would be greater than that would be expected where the property in use by a single 
household.”

In the decade since it was launched online home rental platform Airbnb has amassed millions of rooms worldwide.

But it has also found itself entangled in disputes with authorities from Tokyo to Berlin to San Francisco.

newsen@edinburghnews.com