A senior Labour politician has claimed that there is a city in the UK where two out of every 13 residential properties is listed as available on short-lets platform Airbnb.
Kezia Dugdale, the former leader of the Labour party in Scotland and still a Member of the Scottish Parliament, claims in an article in the New Statesman magazine that in Edinburgh, two properties out of every 13 is listed on Airbnb.
She is quoted as saying: “Landlords can make almost as much money in August [during the Edinburgh Festival] leasing out their properties on Airbnb as they can from leasing out the property for eight to 12 months across the year, to a student or a young person for example.”
And she continues: “People in the city who buy properties and put them on Airbnb … they get a small business owner’s scheme [of tax relief]; they’re not even paying the proper tax.”
Referring to the Labour party she says: “We could fix that so easily, and in Edinburgh that would create an additional £6m in revenue that you could then pay into temporary accommodation provision or use to build more houses.”
Dugdale - who is scheduled to resign as an MSP later this year to take up the role of a think tank in Scotland - says private renting in Edinburgh is now becoming too expensive for many, who are obliged to move out of the city.
“It’s not about condemning a whole industry - I use Airbnb - but it is about being fairer about who is taxed and how they’re taxed” she concludes.
Last August - around the time of the 2018 Edinburgh Festival - it was claimed by commercial property agency Colliers that the proportion of visitors to Edinburgh using Airbnb surged 70 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year.
Colliers said this meant 20 per cent of all overnight stays in Edinburgh were with Airbnb - that’s 1.1m stays.
Almost a third of Airbnb’s bookings in the city were taken by landlords with three or more properties listed on the platform, Colliers claimed.