Councillor 'talking effing nonsense' over claims 'demonised' Airbnb owners are forced into it

The city council’s Tory leader has been blasted for talking “effing nonsense” after he claimed that landlords are being forced into putting properties up for Airbnb and are “demonised” for it.

By David Bol
Friday, 30th August 2019, 2:53 pm
Around 11,000 properties in Edinburgh are listed on Airbnb
Around 11,000 properties in Edinburgh are listed on Airbnb

Cllr Iain Whyte, was discussing pressures within the private rented sector during a meeting of the council’s housing, homeless and fair work committee – when he highlighted regulation in the sector.

The Conservative group leader said: “Housing is actually one of the most regulated sectors.

“While I understand there’s a wish in this city to demonise those who are moving to short term lets, it strikes me that is at least in part, not just because people want more money for their asset but because of tightening both regulations, changes in tenancy types from the Scottish Government – and equally what the UK Government has done in terms of taxation – all of which has come from public demand to tighten up on private letting.

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“It’s actually pushing landlords out of the private letting sector and into short term lets or otherwise selling their homes – we are now seeing the unintended consequence of that. We do need to look at these things in the round.”

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Green Cllr Claire Miller hit back at Cllr Whyte’s claims.

She said: “To say poor old landlords are being pushed out of being private sector tenants and forced to be short term let hosts is absolute effing nonsense. They are not being forced – they are making an active choice.

She added: “If he had attended any of the working group meetings that we have had on that subject, he would know that we have not demonised the sector. What we have sought to do is to regulate for the benefit of our residents in this city and for the visitors who come and live in them.

“The private rented sector is now increasing in quality and we are very keen to see that continue. What we would like to do is work within the existing regime to make sure that quality is improved and continued”

She said: “His solution is that you deregulate the private rented sector. My solution is that you regulate short term lets.”