An Edinburgh woman is looking to raise £112,000 to continue her fight against an enforcement notice stopping her from running her flat as an Airbnb.
Nicola Golden has rented her one-bed flat on Chancelot Terrace as a short-term let since April 2017 and says that the action taken against her by the city council is based on “false accusations”.
The council issued Ms Golden with the enforcement notice for a breach of planning control in March for renting out her property to others for short term stays without planning permission. Evidence gathered by the council claimed the property was “solely” being used for short-term letting – something Ms Golden disputes.
It is said visiting parties led to disturbances in the communal stairwell and to neighbouring properties with “resident’s doors being knocked by occupants of the unit and noise and nuisance being experienced during antisocial hours”.
Ms Golden claims she has only ever received one complaint.
An appeal to the Scottish Government proved unsuccessful in May after it was identified that Ms Golden was advertising her one-bed flat for “up to four people” on Airbnb in addition to her own website.
Ms Golden employs a company to manage the property and in its first 12 months, records state the property was occupied for short-term lets for 46.7 per cent of the year.
Ms Golden purchased the flat in 1996 and lived there for three years before it was used as a long-term rental until 2017.
Ms Golden has received support from the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, the Scottish trade body that represents the traditional short-term letting sector, as they believe that there is a lack of clarity in City of Edinburgh Council’s planning policy that is being used against the self-catering sector.
Ms Golden now needs to raise £112,000 to pay to have her appeal heard by the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
The mother-of-two said: “If I was running a party flat, if I was disrespectful to my community, if my guests disrupted the local life, or if I was running a 24/7 365 day a year hotel with no attention to health and safety or noise disturbance then maybe my property would need to be reviewed – but the evidence clearly shows that I am not. I am part of a booming industry that brings culture, diversity, wealth, and life into the city of Edinburgh and I take great pride in my ability to both stay connected to the city I love and that I get to share it with my family and my guests. It would be a terrible shame if that were taken away from me.”
The ASSC believes there is genuine concern that if the court does not find for Ms Golden then a precedent may be set that threatens self-catering in Scotland which accounts for £723 million of economic activity annually.
ASSC chief executive, Fiona Campbell said: “The ASSC stands firmly behind Nicola in her fight against what appears to be an inconsiderate and poorly-made bureaucratic decision. Self-catering properties like Nicola’s are a vital part of Scotland’s world-leading tourism offering and this case threatens their continued contribution to our valuable sector.”