Property News > Calls for Airbnb Restrictions in Scotland

Calls for Airbnb Restrictions in Scotland

While Airbnb may be very useful for those looking for short term lettings at a moment’s notice, services are causing problems for the property market. With people buying up property in Scotland, especially in Edinburgh it appears accommodation problems are being created in the country. This is why there is a call to put restrictions in place.The problem Airbnb and other similar services are causing is that people are purchasing properties, not to live there, but to rent them out. With tourism high, especially around the time of the Edinburgh Festival this is seen as a quick way to cash in.While this sounds like a good investment for people looking to rent out properties short term, it is causing problems for people looking for actual homes in the area, and not helping the housing crisis. With these issues in mind, and expert panel set up by the Scottish Government has called for short term lettings to be restricted to just 90 days. If this limit is exceeded then this would require a change in the rules of permission for the property. This would result in the landlord having to pay business rates.The panel looking at this issue included representatives from Airbnb, as well as tourism body VisitScotland, and others. One idea that this panel also raised was that the 90-day limit should not include the peak festival periods. This would help the people still looking to rent properties to make a profit, without restricting the number of homes available for more long-term residents.What the panel didn’t want to do was to restrict the number of places available to rent during the festival period. It is well documented that Edinburg lacks the number of hotel rooms required to meet tourism levels at the peak times of popularity, so to hinder the Airbnb services would only cause another problem for the government to fix which would help nobody in the end.Looking at the data on the tourism levels around Edinburgh, it shows that 23% of tourist visitor stay in self-catering accommodation, this accounts for 3.4 million nights per year. Airbnb accounted for around 5% of all tourism in 2016.In July 2017 which was peak tourism time, 21,900 Airbnb rentals were taken in Scotland, with 9,000 in Edinburg (41%). Scotland Airbnb hosts make around £3,600 per year on the service with guests staying around 3 nights at a time.What these results show is that the restriction of 90 would be a wise move, as long as it balances out the needs of short term rental spaces and the more prioritised home buyers. If this balance is found then both sides should be happy with the results.

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