Edinburgh short-term lets: Emergency motion at full council meeting over Cammy Day comments on licensing delay
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An emergency motion at Edinburgh's full council meeting will reaffirm the authority's opposition to any further delay in introducing the licensing of short-term lets after council leader Cammy Day appeared to back a pause.
Only around 240 of an estimated 12,000 short-term lets in Edinburgh have so far registered for a licence, prompting calls for another delay of the October 1 deadline, which has already been pushed back by six months.
In a BBC radio interview, Cllr Day said: "It's a low turnout but I understand the sector will put applications in towards the end of September for that date in October, but if they want to join us in a lobby to ask for an extension to that we would be more than happy to have that discussion. My door is always open, and I would welcome further discussions with industry representatives and government."
His comments sparked accusations that Cllr Day was capitulating to pressure from operators and former city housing convener Kate Campbell, SNP councillor for Portobello and Craigmillar, branded his remarks "spineless". Now Lib Dems have tabled an emergency motion for the full council meeting today, Thursday, August 31, to reassert the council's support for the licensing scheme and opposing any new delay.
Lib Dem group leader Kevin Lang said: "We were very frustrated and concerned that the council leader’s comments made it look like the council was no longer committed to the regulation of short-term lets and was maybe even open to the idea of an extension. That is not the position of the council, it has not been the position of the council and there was a lot of concern that when we are working very hard to try and encourage existing landlords to submit their licence applications by the end of next month that those comments were deeply unhelpful to that effort.”
The motion will be tabled by Lib Dem councillor Neil Ross, who is convener of the regulatory committee. Cllr Lang said: “It will reaffirm the fact the council is not in favour of any further delay and make clear that existing landlords must get their licence applications in by the end of September, otherwise they are open to enforcement action.”
Industry bodies have warned that up to 60 per cent of B&Bs and self-catering operators are considering shutting their doors because of the new licensing scheme. First Minister Humza Yousaf has ruled out a fresh delay. He said: "There will not be another extension to the deadline. It is the right thing to do to bring this licensing scheme in. There has, of course, been an extension already."