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Strict Airbnb controls still on the agenda says politician

The Scottish Government does not intend to abandon its licensing scheme for Airbnbs and other short term lets, nor to delay its implementation any further, a politician claims.

The future of proposed controls was thrown into doubt last month when a court decision appeared to stop a local authority bid to strictly regulate Airbnb-style short lets with licenses.

Edinburgh council wanted to introduce the licensing scheme following complaints about the high number of short-term lets in the Scottish capital. Opponents of Airbnb claimed that short lets fuelled housing shortages and led to increased anti-social behaviour.


Short let landlords in the Scottish capital had until October 1 to apply for a licence, with people who list whole properties on sites such as Airbnb also needing planning permission. However, a group of landlords in Edinburgh took the city council to court and following a two-day hearing at the Court of Session, Lord Braid agreed that part of the proposal was unlawful.

Now, six weeks later, a Scottish housing minister - Paul McLennan - insists the increased regulation is still on course. 

He told a Scottish Parliament committee that the licensing scheme itself had not been challenged, but only its implementation by Edinburgh council.

McLennan is quoted in the Scottish media as saying: “It remains our view that licensing of short-term lets can be operated effectively by councils so as to respect the rights of hosts and guests in short-term let accommodation, and is appropriate for the whole of Scotland.

“It is important to highlight that [Edinburgh] council still has an operational licensing scheme and we understand it plans to quickly update its information for applicants … particularly existing hosts that will be applying before 1 October 2023” – that was the  deadline for hosts to be allowed to continue operating while their application is being determined. 

“I am therefore minded not to extend the transitional deadline … [and the Scottish Government] “continues to be proactive in working with licensing authorities to harmonise consistent operational approaches where possible” says the minister.


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