08 Mar 2022

City of Edinburgh Council asking the Scottish Government for powers to control short-term lets

City of Edinburgh Council asking the Scottish Government for powers to control short-term lets

City of Edinburgh Council is asking the Scottish Government for new powers to control short-term lets. 

The move was approved by the local authority's planning committee.

Home owners wholly letting a property as a short-term let (STL), which is not their principal home, will need to apply for planning permission for change of use.

The introduction of powers to create a control area follows the council calling for new legislation to tighten up the control of STLs to help manage high concentrations of secondary letting where it affects the availability of residential housing or the character of a neighbourhood.

Also, the local authority says it will help to restrict or prevent STLs in places or types of buildings where they are not appropriate as well as making sure homes are used to best effect in their areas.

Generally renting out a room in your own home or letting your home while on holiday would also still be allowed if Edinburgh became a STL control area.

Councillor Neil Gardiner, the planning convener, said:

"Around a third of STLs in Scotland are in Edinburgh. They're in every council ward in the city with concentrations in some areas. So, this decision is great news for people across the city and I'm pleased committee unanimously got behind the proposal.

"We worked hard calling for new legislation to help us have greater controls over STLs and we're now in a position to move forward and ask Government if the whole of the city can be zoned as a STL control area.

"If approved by Government, these new powers for Edinburgh will provide the clarity we need where planning permission is required for a change of use. Just now, if it's reported to us that a property has changed its use without planning permission, our enforcement team has to look at each case individually.

"This is a very lengthy and time-consuming process."

The Scottish Government confirmed at the end of 2021 that all short-term home rentals in Scotland will have to be licensed within the next three years. Councils will be given powers to ensure these lets are safe and meet the needs of their local communities.

At the start of 2020, it was announced that local authorities north of the border were to be given new powers to regulate short-term rentals, in a move to tackle problems caused by rapid growth of Airbnb-style holidays.

Concern had been voiced by residents in some locations popular with tourists - such as Edinburgh during the Festival - that the rise in short-term lets was pushing up rent levels for other properties, as well as increasing litter, noise and anti-social behaviour.

The new laws will mean all local authorities will be required to establish a short-term rentals licensing scheme by October, 2022.

Existing hosts and operators will have until April 1, 2023, to apply for a licence for each property that they operate as a short-term let.

All short-term rentals will have to be licensed by July 1, 2024.

The Scottish Government said the legislation will ensure the needs and concerns of communities are balanced with wider economic and tourism interests. 

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