Calls for a ban of Airbnb management company adverts slammed as 'immense insult' to tenants

Nestify, the company behind the ads, claim they can "maximise" rental income through Airbnb.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 12:03 pm

Adverts for an Airbnb management company have been branded an “immense insult” to city tenants by a councillor who has called for a ban on the advertising.

Councillor Ashley Graczyk said the adverts from Nestify which say landlords can maximise their rental income through short term lets are promoting companies which are “exacerbating the housing crisis in Edinburgh.

Nestify, a London-based company who manage Airbnb listings and properties for landlords said they work “strictly” within local laws.

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The Nestify advert on the back of a Lothian bus (Photo: Contributed)

Lothian buses said the contract for the adverts was handled externally, while Edinburgh City Council said any decision on adverts was a commercial decision for the bus operator.

The criticism came after a grassroots group also raised “concerns” about Nestify’s business model.

PLACE Edinburgh, which campaigns against the growth of the short-term let market, said Nestify had assured them they will not work with unauthorised short-term lets in Edinburgh.

'The ad is an immense insult'

Councillor Ashley Graczyk criticised the adverts (Photo: Contributed)

Cllr Graczyk criticised the decision to run the ads on Lothian services and said more and more Edinburgh residents are becoming homeless or living in unaffordable housing due to rising rents.

She claimed council figures show 30 per cent of those in temporary accommodation are working.

She added: “More people are becoming homeless because they simply cannot afford to pay the rent or mortgage. This is utterly and immensely ridiculous.

“Yet we have Lothian Buses, a public-run transport infrastructure, promoting companies like Nestify who are actively exacerbating the housing crisis in Edinburgh.

“Not to mention the ad is an immense insult to tenants living in one of the least affordable places in the UK, with many struggling to afford to rent a home – never mind buy – and who live in fear of being kicked out at short notice to make way for short term lets.”

A spokesman for PLACE Edinburgh said they had also raised concerns about Nestify’s “apparent promotion of unlawful short-term letting” in the Capital.

She said: “We’ve written to Nestify to advise them of the planning regulations regarding short-term lets in Edinburgh, and shared extensive legal documentation showing the detrimental impact that unauthorised short-term lets had on the living conditions for neighbours.

“Nestify have assured us, without ambiguity, that they do not work with unauthorised short-term lets and that they fully inform all clients of the Edinburgh regulations.

“PLACE has thanked them greatly for that written commitment.”

'We don't encourage kicking tenants out'

Hedi Zidan, chief executive and founder at Nestify, commented: "We do not encourage any landlord to kick tenants out of their homes. We offer short-term lets solutions in Edinburgh, and a mix of short, mid and long-term lets in England and Wales, which tenants and landlords can opt for when it suits their individual circumstances.

"When it comes to short-term lets, we work strictly within the confines of the local laws and regulations that allows landlords to offer their properties for short-term let.

"We are a property management service and allow tenants to take on short term lets when they need to, such as those undergoing temporary work in another city or when their current home is being refurbished.

"We allow homeowners to let out their properties when they are on holiday, or offer short-term rents where longer-term tenancies aren't possible, such as when a property is going through the process of being sold.

"The terms and timings of all lettings are made clear to all tenancies at the start of every agreement."

A spokesman for Lothian said: “Advertising across our vehicles is managed by Global on our behalf. While Lothian have a number of qualifying restrictions on the types of advertising that is permitted, property management is not on the restricted list.”