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Government backs away from stricter regulation of Airbnb and short lets

The Scottish Government - which earlier this year suggested it would be clamping down heavily on Airbnbs, especially in Edinburgh - appears to have backed away from the idea.

Scotland’s Housing Secretary Shona Robison says new controls, proposed in a consultation document in recent months are not needed as powers for so-called control areas are being given to local councils.

It is now these authorities who are left to decide whether there are too many short-term lets set up in any given location.


It appears that Scotland's SNP-Green government has accepted the arguments of some old-style B&Bs which said they would be caught up in new legislation, and considered that unfair. 

In a letter to MSPs Robison insists there would be “practical and significant changes” to the original proposed scheme, including a simplification of the way that neighbours are notified about licence applications, as well as removing personal names from the public register of short-term lets.

Robison stressed that the principle of regulation of short-term lets was “vital to balance the needs and concerns communities have raised with wider economic and tourism interests” - but this would now rest with local authorities.

The UK Short Term Accommodation Association, which represents many of the bigger short-let providers, says: “The STAA welcomes the decision by the Scottish Government to reconsider some aspects of its proposed licensing regime.

“Throughout the engagement process for these proposed regulations, which has been ongoing for a number of years, we have suggested practical and pragmatic improvements to the legislation which we believe will help to strike the right balance between protecting communities and allowing legitimate businesses to operate as they have always done. 

“We believe that the changes that the Scottish Government has announced today are a positive step in the right direction, although we will continue to push for further improvements for our members, including a grandfathering provision and auto-renewals of licences. We look forward to continued engagement in Scotland, to build the best set of regulations that we can for all.”


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