A short-term lets licensing regime for Edinburgh properties from spring 2021

FairbnbAn alert for short-term let property owners in Edinburgh (and beyond).

The Scottish Government last month announced that short-term lets in Edinburgh will be subject to a licensing regime from spring 2021 and a new control area may be created in the city, in which planning permission must be sought before establishing short-term let businesses.

Also in the pipeline are tax changes to make these types of business contribute “more fairly to the services they use”. The Council and many residents have welcomed the reforms, whereas property business owners may be less chuffed. The Council is looking for effective solutions to the anti-social behaviour, rent rises, lack of housing, and hollowing-out of communities associated with the type of use. The Council also see these measures as a way to implement safety standards that protect visitors and their permanent neighbours.

Airbnb, the biggest and best-known short-term let platform, is said to support the measures in principle, although the mechanics of the licensing scheme have yet to be worked out; as has the detail of whether local authorities can refuse such businesses permission to operate.

Ben Macpherson MSP has expressed confidence that the measures will "tackle community concerns, control the numbers of whole-property short-term lets and generally make the overall housing situation in Edinburgh fairer and more sustainable for all".

All of which points to a need on the part present and would-be investors to take the impact (and cost) of regulation and compliance into account in their business plan – not just in Edinburgh but in the many other short-term let hot-spot locations throughout the land.

BC blog editor