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Victory for Airbnb in first round of battle for short lets regulation

A first attempt to regulate Airbnb-style short lets through licensing has been withdrawn.

The SNP-led Scottish Government had drawn up a licensing scheme to give councils north of the border powers to licence homes advertised on Airbnb and similar platforms. 

But after substantial opposition, the government in Holyrood has pulled the measure and will now put a new proposal to parliament in the summer - providing the party wins upcoming elections. 


The licensing scheme proposals followed widespread concern at the proliferation of short lets, especially in Edinburgh and other tourist areas. The proposals would have given local authorities the right to designate areas where planning permission was needed before homes could be let; this would also have required stricter health and safety measures in the properties.

Some councils supported the idea but short let platforms and groups such as Scottish Land & Estates did not. However, even some supporters voiced concerns at how the regulation of Airbnb and similar self-catering properties would be separated from already-regulated bed and breakfast properties.

The Scottish Government says if a revised set of measures are supported in June this year, local authorities will have until 1 April 2022 to establish local versions of the scheme, with short let owners having until April 2023 to apply for licences.


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