Airbnb launches Edinburgh trial of noise detection devices which dispatches 'agents' to tackle problems

Airbnb hosts across Edinburgh will install noise detectors in a bid to reassure neighbours that anti-social behaviour will be halted.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 2:31 pm
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 4:39 pm
The Minut devices will be trialled in Edinburgh by Airbnb

Airbnb is trialling a noise detector system in Edinburgh properties to help reassure neighbours over anti-social behaviour by visitors staying at short term let accommodation.

The company has unveiled a three-month trial of the devices in the Capital where hosts taking part will use a noise detector device to expose noise and nuisance issues - in place before the busy Christmas and Hogmanay period. The trial will be run in partnership with Minut, the company behind the devices - with a select group of hosts installing the device in their properties.

The Minut device does not have a camera for video recording and cannot record or store any audio - ensuring guest privacy. The device simply alerts the host to excessive noise levels when the decibel threshold is exceeded. Once alerted via the Minut app, the host can choose to contact the guest directly about the noise level or dispatch a Minut "agent" to visit the property on their behalf, acting as their eyes and ears on the ground.

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The noise detectors cannot record sound or video

In the unlikely event that contact from the host or Minut agent does not diffuse the situation, the host can choose to escalate the problem to the police in line with standard noise and nuisance complaints. Airbnb has also launched a dedicated Good Guest Guide for guests visiting Edinburgh.

Patrick Robinson, director of public policy at Airbnb, said: “From supporting simple, fair and proportionate regulation to backing a local tourism levy, we have always been committed to working together with Edinburgh to make home sharing work for everyone.

"The noise detector trial and good guest guide are just the latest steps we have taken to support local hosts and the communities in Edinburgh that they call home.”

A total of 92 per cent of hosts surveyed by Airbnb in Scotland have said they have never experienced any issues with anti-social behaviour, waste, parking or noise caused by their guests.

Chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), Fiona Campbell, said: “As the trade body representing short-term rental in Scotland, we at the ASSC warmly welcome the launch of this trial and of the good guest guide. Many of our members use the platform as a route to market and so we appreciate fully their commitment to Scotland and to ensuring that our guests have the best experience while also contributing to the local areas they stay in.

“Airbnb is to be congratulated for their willingness to find solutions that work for those in the industry, our neighbours, and our communities across Scotland.”

There are now more than 11,000 Airbnb properties listed in the Capital and Edinburgh City Council wants a licensing scheme to be brought forward by the Scottish Government - that could require owners to ensure anti-social behaviour such as noise nuisance does not affect neighbours.

The council’s housing, homelessness and fair work convener, Cllr Kate Campbell, said: “I have been clear that we need a licensing regime so we can properly manage short term lets in the city and protect homes and communities.”

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