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Airbnb tells government it has better way of regulating short lets

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."

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Delegating this to local enforcement, rather than a national framework, will cause the same chaos and instability seen in the property licensing arena. It's sad to see any government step back from further legislating & regulating the short let market. A lot of the woes in the long term housing sector are being caused by this imbalance. Having experienced first hand Airbnb's appalling attitude to illegal sub-letting it felt far more like they were there to help facilitate this type of action than help tackle it. With so much legislation being constantly heaped on the PRS but little elsewhere issues will continue to grow.


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