Edinburgh Council hit with bill for Airbnb style flats which are 'hollowing out communities'

There are now more than 12,000 Airbnb properties available in EdinburghThere are now more than 12,000 Airbnb properties available in Edinburgh
There are now more than 12,000 Airbnb properties available in Edinburgh
COUNCIL bosses had to fork out £30,000 in legal costs to stop two properties being used as party flats which are “hollowing out communities”.

In 2009, there were just eight properties in Edinburgh available to book on Airbnb. But Scottish Government figures show that in 2018, there were more than 12,000 on offer in the Capital. In the city centre, there are now more properties available for short term let than for traditional private rent.

In evidence submitted to the Scottish Government in response to a consultation on introducing a licensing system for professional Airbnb-style short term lets, the council points to two properties in the Fountainbridge/Haymarket area of the city as an example of causing anti-social behaviour.

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The two properties were rented out for “stag and hen parties”, but “on a weekly basis”, residents were disturbed by “anti-social behaviour, noise and nuisance”. The council added that the problems were “interrupting residents’ sleep and enjoyment of their homes”.

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The city council has spearheaded calls for a licensing regime to be introduced for short term lets, as are needed for the 5,000 Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) in the Capital.

Under the council’s proposals, a licence would be needed for anyone either running a property on a commercial or professional basis – or for at least 45 days a year. The licensing rules would ensure any operators were “fit and proper” and that certain safety standards were being met.

Cllr Kate Campbell, convener of housing, homelessness and fair work, said: “The biggest issues for Edinburgh are the impacts on housing supply, on rents, the hollowing out of communities and the antisocial behaviour that too many are suffering from, often caused by short term lets in properties that just aren’t suitable for this type of use.

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“We’re also concerned about the lack of clarity on regulation for health and safety for short term lets, both the safety of visitors and residents in neighbouring properties.

She added: “Edinburgh Council’s response was clear that we want a licensing regime that, similar to the legislation for HMOs, allows us to require a license for both the property and the landlord.

“We want power to control the overall numbers, concentration, determine the suitability or otherwise of a property, make sure properties are safe and landlords are fit proper.

“I feel incredibly positive about where we are and I’m optimistic that we will see real change and increased powers for councils so that we have the tools we need to protect homes and communities.”