Airbnb to bring in Scottish registration system and landlord regulations

Airbnb has revealed proposals for landlord planning regulations and a registration system across Scotland.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 4:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th September 2019, 5:46 pm
A registration system will be brought in for Airbnb

The submissions were put to a Scottish Government consultation on short-term letting in July, but have just been announced as it begins a six-month roadshow to gather feedback.

They include backing for a free online landlord registration system in communities "that need it", extending planning requirements to those hosting more than 140 nights a year and support for a tourism levy.

There are around 35,000 listings across Scotland on the travel platform's site, contributing more than £693 million to the Scottish economy last year.

But it has been suggested short-term lets have added to housing and community pressures.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i politics newsletter cut through the noise

Patrick Robinson, director of public policy for Airbnb, said: "We want to be good partners to communities in Scotland and work together on a host registration system that is easy to follow, gives authorities the information they need to regulate home-sharing effectively, and that ultimately makes communities stronger.

"Airbnb has long led the way on home-sharing rules in London and we want to extend that collaboration, based on our experience of working with more than 500 governments across the world.

"We hope that other industry players will join us in this important work."

The firm said the registration system could be centrally or statutorily managed and enforced by local authorities.

Short-term let operators would provide information on their property to their local authority through the registration system if they meet the agreed criteria.

Gordon Maloney, from Living Rent, welcomed the submissions from the firm, but said the situation was already "dangerously out of control".

He said: "The Scottish Government need to massively step up regulation on holiday lets.

"It is therefore welcome to see even companies like Airbnb accepting that this has to mean giving councils the ability to tax holiday lets and require such landlords to register.

"Every holiday let is one less home for a family to live in and in many parts of Scotland, the situation is already dangerously out of control."

He added: "In order to strike anything resembling a healthy and sustainable balance between communities and tourism, councils must be given the ability to limit the number of holiday lets and the length of time properties can be rented out on such leases.

"In some places, particularly in Edinburgh, that has to mean dramatically reducing the number of holiday lets in operation."

The company's tour of UK cities begins in Edinburgh on Thursday and will include meetings with policymakers, city leaders and local hosts to hear proposals for a registration system.

Airbnb will collate its findings for short-term lets in a white paper that it will present to Government and other key stakeholders in 2020.

The Scottish Government's consultation received more than 1,000 responses and is being prepared for publication in autumn.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: "We will carefully consider the response of Airbnb along with the more than 1,000 others we received to our recent consultation on the regulation of short-term lets."