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Controls looming for short-term property lettings

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Lettings are under review (pic: Terry Murden)

Landlords face new regulations on Airbnb-style short term lets in a move to eradicate anti-social behaviour and the “hollowing out” of communities.

A Scottish government consultation exercise found majority of respondents wanted action to control a three-fold increase in Scottish properties let for short-term use since 2016, with 32,000 recorded in May alone.

In some cases, residents claim their neighbourhoods had been transformed by a revolving number of tourists and party-goers staying in flats for a few nights at a time.

Views were mixed as to whether there should be registration or licensing for short-term lets.

Regardless of whatever regulation is introduced, a common theme was of the need for enforcement to be undertaken; and to be undertaken quickly where there is noncompliance.

There were also a number of comments that local authorities will need additional resources to apply and enforce any regulation.

Scottish Labour’s housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill MSP said: “While it is true that short term lets such as AirBnBs can increase tourism and boost the economy in certain areas, it is vital it is not at the expense of full time residents’ quality of life.

“The consultation responses and research published today present a compelling case for the regulation of short-term lets.  

It is time local authorities had the power to determine when a home has changed use

– Pauline McNeill, Labour

“Scottish Labour supports a change to planning law to ensure that properties being let as short-term lets, which are not the owner’s sole residence, require planning permission. This would facilitate the regulation so badly needed.

“This change could have happened in June as part of the Planning Bill, but the SNP and Tories teamed up to block it. 

“We are proud of Scotland’s place in the world as a thriving tourist destination, but Scottish Labour also recognises the downside of too many short term let properties condensed in residential areas.

“It is time local authorities had the power to determine when a home has changed use so they can regulate short term lets and find a balanced position in their community’s interest.”

There were 1,086 responses to the consultation, of which 111 were from organisations and 975 from individuals.

See also:

Government paper on short-term lets



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