Call for talks

Short term lets plan again ruled unlawful by judge

Lettings are subject to tighter local authority regulation

A self-catering sector leader has called for constructive talks with Edinburgh City Council after a judge again ruled that a crackdown on short-term lets (STL) in the city was “unlawful”.

The verdict by Lord Braid was the second time a court has found in favour of claimants against the council’s plans.

Lord Braid described the local authority’s approach as “unfair and illogical” and said it could not be applied retrospectively, making it unlawful for the council to require all landlords of entire property short term lets to seek planning permission.

The ruling follows a successful judicial review on parts of the proposed plan last month and is likely to have huge ramifications for Edinburgh’s STL regulation as a whole.

The latest challenge was focused on whether requirements of the city-wide “control area” designed to manage high concentrations of STLs apply to those who were already operating prior to its implementation on 5 September last year, or was limited to those changing the use of their property after that date.

Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said the judgement “not only has profound implications for Edinburgh, but short-term let policy across Scotland”.

She said: “We pay tribute to the perseverance and determination of the two petitioners, Iain Muirhead and Louise Dickins, who have borne huge personal and financial costs once again.

“This grassroots action was not undertaken lightly, and they took the courageous decision to bring this action against Edinburgh Council to protect not only their businesses, but also an industry that is critical to both the capital’s economy and the entire tourism sector.

“For years, the industry has in good faith attempted to secure a fair, proportionate, and workable regulatory framework by engaging with local and national government.

“Regrettably, the appropriate balance wasn’t struck in Edinburgh, and we hope, in light of this judgment, that we can now work constructively and cooperatively with the Council to put matters right.”

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