Airbnb has backed the Scottish Government's backtrack on pledges to exercise more centralised regulation over short let properties.
The country’s ruling SNP-Green coalition now says that it wants local authorities, rather than national laws, to regulate the number of short lets; this follows extensive lobbying of the government in Edinburgh by short lets and B&B organisations.
Now Airbnb has issued a statement saying it is “encouraged” by the government move - but it immediately goes on to tell the politicians how they can do better.
An Airbnb statement says: “We still believe more progress should be made. It is vital that issues such as the proposed … fees and the administration burden for hosts are properly addressed and we are committed to working with the Scottish Government to ensure this happens.”
It goes on to say: “For local authorities, the proposed rules are the worst of both worlds: centralisation and fragmentation. The proposals would force local authorities to incur the expense and administrative burden of creating unnecessary licensing schemes regardless of whether or not they need or want them.”
Airbnb wants a licensing fee cap uniform across all local authorities, and with a tech-led system of implementation.
The short lets platform is particularly worried by the prospect of ‘control zones’ for the sector being set up by local authorities. It says: "If the whole of Edinburgh City Council is designated as a ‘Short Term Let Control Area’, with widespread limitations on secondary letting, the licensing scheme only applies to hosts sharing their primary residence, long standing self-catering businesses and B&B owners. We would question if this is the intention of the licensing legislation and again urge further consultation with industry.”
Instead it wants what it calls “a sufficient and proportionate control mechanism for short-term lets in Scotland."