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Airbnb and short lets may have tighter controls in Scotland

The Scottish Government says it’s looking at whether to regulate Airbnb and other short let activities after a consultation found widespread support for greater controls.

More than 1,000 responses from communities, landlords and businesses raised a number of concerns about the effects of short-term lets including anti-social behaviour, safety fears and the impact on the housing market.

The Scottish Government says it is considering the analysis of responses to the consultation, which also highlighted the economic benefits brought by short-term lets.


Policy proposals are expected to be announced later this year.

A statement by the Holyrood government says there is an understanding that issues vary across the country, with different problems in most rural settings compared to places like Edinburgh, where there is the highest concentration of short-term lets.

These findings are confirmed by the conclusions of separate independent research on the impact of short-term lets on communities.

Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart says: “Short-term lets can offer people a flexible and cheaper travel option, and have contributed positively to Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies across the country.

“However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hot spots, high numbers of short-term lets are causing problems and often making it harder for people to find homes to live in.

“The responses to our consultation confirm support for new controls over short-term letting of residential properties in these problem areas.

“We will carefully consider the evidence before setting out our proposals later this year. In the meantime we will continue to work with local authorities to support them to balance the unique needs of their communities with wider economic and tourism interests.”

There is currently no statutory definition of what constitutes a short-term let such as Airbnb, in Scotland. For a short-term let to take place, a host offers accommodation to one or more guests. 

Where a property is available for let for 140 days or more in the financial year, it is classified as self-catering holiday accommodation, exempt from council tax, and becomes instead liable for non-domestic rates.


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