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New Airbnb controls are condemned by trade body

The UK Short Term Accommodation Association says the Scottish Government’s backing of a bid to control short lets in Edinburgh could damage the city’s business and tourism reputation.

The City of Edinburgh council has ’applied for the whole of the city be covered by a short-term let control area, which comes into effect next week. 

This will require planning consent to be won by hosts letting through Airbnb or other short let platforms. 


Earlier this year, the STAA says that any short-term let control areas should be supported by robust evidence and that the Scottish Government should hold local authorities to a high standard of evidence before granting requests for control areas.

But now the association is accusing the Scottish Government of simply waiving through the Edinburgh application without evidencing any robust process to examine whether a control area is justified. 

The STAA is also concerned about what it claims to be the lack of transparency surrounding the Scottish Government’s decision. It says the process could lead to applications from other councils being approved unnecessarily because no robust evidence was presented. 

The association has urged the Scottish Government to publish its decision-making process and the parameters that are going to be used to determine whether control areas will be accepted in the future.


Shomik Panda, director general of the STAA, says: “This is a worrying move. Not only do we not agree with this decision, but we are also concerned that it has been made without an explanation or presented evidence. 

“We genuinely believe that this will have a negative impact on Edinburgh’s tourism economy and if rolled out to other areas of Scotland will further damage a valuable income stream as tourists will not have a large enough accommodation inventory to choose from and will end up going elsewhere. 

“In the current economic climate, where many accommodation operators are still recovering from the impact of COVID restrictions and with the impending cost of living crisis looming, the timing couldn’t be worse. 

“We urge the Scottish government to rethink its approach … [and] also to impose some parameters on what additional licensing conditions local authorities in Scotland can impose in order to prevent mass fragmentation across the country. We are now in a situation where Edinburgh council is imposing further draconian requirements on license applicants, even after having essentially banned secondary letting in Edinburgh.

“We’d like to think that the devolved administrations in England and Wales will learn from Scotland's mistakes and work with the industry to design a workable set of regulations that tackle challenges without destroying the economic benefits that short-term rentals bring.”

  • Billy the Fish

    What about the positive impact controls will have on the Edinburgh housing crisis?
    Tourists still have hotels right?

  • icon

    Edinburgh's fringe theatres tanked due to lack of accomodation!

    • S S
    • 05 September 2022 11:45 AM

    It wasn't lack of accomodation I believe, it was the high charges for the accomodation. People choose not to pay the high prices being charged by accomodation providers

  • Kristjan Byfield

    The STAA is not interested in what is best for the property market or communities impacted negatively by a boom in short let accommodation but is purely interested in protecting the income of its short let partners. When dumb-founded years ago by Airbnb's flat-out refusal to address an illegal sublet of a client's property (in breach of local planning, mortgage terms, head lease & buildings insurance) it was also hosting numerous wild parties making the neighbours' lives a misery. STAA invited me to a meeting, where they dismissed the legitimacy of the issues, the culpability of Airbnb or the fact that providers needed to self-regulate or face serious encroachment by government and local councils. Reap what you sow.

  • icon

    Unfortunately that's quite common in all areas, and it's really a police problem, who are too busy trawling the net for hate crimes. And of course engaging with minority groups.


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