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Agent says landlord clients turning their back on Airbnb

A lettings agent says his client landlords are already turning their back on short let platforms including Airbnb ahead of likely clampdowns by local authorities.

Tay Lettings operates in Edinburgh where the council has been amongst the most strident in the country in wanting short let restrictions - last week it unanimously voted to bring in new measures to designate the entire city as a control zone.

Tay Lettings’ Malcolm Pickard says the new rules - if approved by the Scottish Government - mark a ‘tipping point’ for short lets landlords.


The proposals, if agreed, mean landlords wishing to list properties that are not their usual home would need to apply for a change of use through the city council’s planning department. 

Pickard says: “We have already seen an exodus from the short term let market into the private rental sector since the Covid-19 pandemic began when the market was virtually wiped out. 

“Those who have toughed it out or returned to the short lets market were probably hopeful of recovery, but if approved by the Scottish Government, this move from the city council will prove the tipping point for most. 

“Since the start of the year we’ve seen dozens of landlords come to us to inquire about switching from short term lets to private rentals. One property owner, who lets out two of their three city centre properties on Airbnb, plans to move them all to private rental as it’s no longer worth it. Others have seen this move coming and decided the short lets sector is no longer for them.  

“The gross income from short term lets is the big attraction for owners, but these new regulations are likely to mean tighter control around things such as gas and electrical safety certificates; short-term rental registration; water safety certificates; furniture and appliance checks; and more, and that all brings with it additional costs many will not be prepared to swallow. 

“Short term lets were once something that could be run personally, but in recent years we’ve seen more people using agencies to manage properties. With added regulation, those fees plus the cost of compliance with what could be very tight regulation will likely prove too costly.”



Pickard says landlords can already get this in the private rental sector with far less risk, hassle and time commitment, not to mention the added wear and tear on property associated with short term lets.

“We have heard horror stories of buildings containing seven short term lets, and it can be a nightmare for longer-term residents. There is heightened concern too around vulnerable residents when there is a high level of transient footfall. 

“There will be a few winners from the change – most notably landlords with front-door entry properties that meet the likely requirements for short-term let licences, but those with properties in shared closes etc will be very likely to look for alternative means of making money from their property.

“There’s no doubt action was needed, and it will be interesting to see how things play out – particularly around what is required to obtain a short term let licence.”  

A council consultation on the plans found 85 per cent of respondents are in favour of the control zone covering the whole city area. 

  • Roger  Mellie

    Some lobbying by the hospitality industry has bought this around. Protection of jobs, profits and the local economy. Still, London's 90 day rule doesn't do much to stop those that really want to get around the legislation.


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