Edinburgh asks Scottish Government to make entire Capital a short-term let control area

Edinburgh is to ask the Scottish Government to designate the whole city as a short-term let control zone.

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The city's planning committee agreed the move unanimously after hearing a consultation had found 88 per cent supported the principle of designating an STL control area and 85 per cent were in favour of it covering the entire Capital.

The council has estimated around 10,000 properties in Edinburgh have been taken out of residential use to become Airbnb-style accommodation, with the Old Town and other areas of the city centre particularly badly affected.

Short-term lets have had a big impact on the city centre.

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The city council was at the forefront of pressing the Scottish Government for new powers to allow local authorities to control short-term lets.

If the government approves Edinburgh’s request to become a control area, property owners letting out a residential property which is not their principal home on a short-term let basis anywhere in the city will have to apply for “change of use” permission through the planning process.

Planning convener Neil Gardiner said he hoped the council would be able to move forward rapidly to implement the control area.

He said: "The short-term let industry has had quite an effect on the city so we need to have legislation for this and that's where we are now.

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"I thank the Scottish Government for acting on our request to bring forward the legislation.

"I think we need to get this done and dusted as quickly as we can, so I look forward to the city becoming a single control area for short-term lets."

He said planning consent was already required in many instances.

“This provides clarity for the commercial usage of what were previously residential properties.

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“And hand in glove with this will be the licensing regime which will then manage those properties which do have planning consent for short-term lets.

“It's protecting a lot of the communities in the city centre and ensuring Edinburgh has a continuous population in the city centre, which has always been a mark of Edinburgh and we need to make sure that is re-established and continues.”

A report to the committee said in March 2019 there were 8,739 entire-property STLs in Edinburgh listed on Airbnb and although Covid saw a fall, there were still 4,077 in October 2021.

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