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Clampdown on short lets may lead to landlords selling rental units

A leading agency in a part of the UK where local government wants to clamp down on the spread of Airbnb is warning that the situation could prompt a glut of landlords to sell up.

The Scottish Government has indicated in recent days that it will give local councils to introduce controls on hosts using Airbnb and other short let platforms; many areas, in particular Edinburgh, has seen a dramatic rise in this niche sector.

Some have suggested the rise has led to greater anti-social activities amongst short let tenants, and the loss of rental units for longer term tenants as landlords have sought the higher yields associated with Airbnb-style lettings. 


Now ESPC Lettings, based in Edinburgh, says the proposed licensing scheme will include a new mandatory safety requirement that will cover every type of short term let to ensure a safe, quality experience for visitors. 

It will also give councils the discretion to apply further conditions to address the concerns of local residents. 

Councils will be able to plan control areas to ensure that planning permission will be required for the change of use of an entire property to a short-term let. 

The councils are able to implement these changes from 2021 and ESPC Lettings says this may see owners choosing to sell in the run up to the new powers being introduced. 

“This may increase the supply of homes coming to market, helping to alleviate some of the strong demand for property we have seen in areas such as Edinburgh in recent years” warns a statement from ESPC.

“Alternatively, the owners of these properties may choose to switch to long term rentals. This will provide a greater supply of homes for tenants. However, in areas with strong demand for rental properties such as Edinburgh, this is unlikely to have a significant impact on rent levels and time to let” says the lettings service.

Nicky Lloyd, head of ESPC Lettings says: “It’s likely that a number of landlords currently operating short term lets will step away from this market over the next 12 months, with properties either being sold or converted to long term rentals. 

“This may result in an influx of properties coming to the rental market and diluting the supply of properties which has been heavily led with demand over supply.

“However, given the number of people moving in and around the city, it is unlikely that numbers of potential properties coming to the long term rental market will have much of an adverse effect.

“It does mean that referencing and understanding potential tenants’ requirements will become more important than ever, in order to avoid people who were only looking for a short let signing a Private Residential Tenancy and serving their 28 day notice immediately.”


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