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Airbnb short lets should convert to long-term rentals, says council

A council with a large number of short let properties within its boundaries is urging owners to convert them to traditional longer-term rental units.

Edinburgh council has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to delay the re-opening of short-term lets where properties have communal areas like shared stairwells and front doors with other people’s homes.

Under the latest lockdown restrictions, holiday lets with shared facilities – including communal entrances, stairs and landings – are not allowed to re-open. 


Instead, the council is urging landlords to consider moving properties back into residential use or renting their properties directly to the local authority instead.

In January of this year a survey by ARLA Propertymark, in partnership with research consultancy Capital Economics, showed that across the UK the number of active listings on Airbnb in the UK rose by a third to 223,000 in 2018 from 168,000 in 2017. 

Edinburgh says short-term lets triple, with 32,000 active listings in the Scottish capital in 2019, up from 11,000 in 2016.

"During lockdown, with our partners, we've successfully brought a number of short-term let properties back into residential use to help us house people experiencing homelessness” says council leader Adam McVey. 

He continues: “This has been really positive for all involved and we need to continue to build on this going forward. We face a huge challenge housing people who need it, and we’re saying strongly and clearly that landlords running short-term lets from residential without permission should stop and move their property back into residential use. This can be part of the solution.

"However, as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we also need to be clear that we will take action if required. With the health risks associated with Covid-19 it is absolutely vital that all forms of accommodation are properly managed and that those with shared facilities remain closed following government guidance. 

“We welcome this decision and short-term let operators who fail to comply with these regulations or operate without permission should be aware that it will be a priority for us to take any enforcement action available to us.”


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