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Short lets will push up mainstream rents unless regulated - warning

There’s a warning from a leading agent that the unregulated proliferation of Airbnb-style short lets will lead to mainstream rent rises for long term tenants.

Karen Turner, director of lettings at prominent Scottish agency Rettie & Co, cites the example of Edinburgh where on average 10 per cent of rental stock in the central area is now registered for short lets on the Airbnb platform. 

Turner says the figure is much higher still in popular areas of the city centre.


“These areas were traditionally popular with private rental supply tenants, for many of the same reasons as they are desirable for Airbnb” she admits.

“This has decreased supply and increased competition amongst tenants for properties in these neighbourhoods, pushing demand into other areas and leading to rental inflation. 

“With short-term rental occupancy rates of 40 to 50 per cent, equating to a year’s private rental sector rent in many locations, the financial case is clear. Unless legislation is introduced, competition between the sectors will continue in many neighbourhoods, reducing supply and supporting greater competition and rising rents in these and neighbouring areas” she warns.

The debate about the impact of Airbnb and similar platforms has reached fever pitch in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has discussed possible regulation following complaints about their impact on housing supply in Edinburgh and elsewhere.

Meanwhile it is said that Airbnb itself has proposed a registration system and possible planning controls and a tourism levy for owners wanting to let out their homes for over 140 nights a year.

There are some 35,000 listings across Scotland on the Airbnb site alone.


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