Communities support new Short-term Let regulations
POSTED ON August 30, 2023 BY Terry Levinthal
The Cockburn with local community and housing groups ask that the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Government give little weight to the pressures posed by a well-funded industry lobby group to delay the implementation of STL regulations. Local communities have been placed under huge pressures by the untrammeled expansion of STLs across the city. It is time to restore some balance and ensure that Edinburgh remains a place for people to live.
Joint statement by The Cockburn Association, PLACE Edinburgh, New Town & Broughton Community Council, Old Town Association, Grassmarket Residents’ Association (GRASS) and Living Rent.
The regulation of short-term lets follows years of discussion and debate after the expansion of Airbnb-style accommodation occurred with no regulation or checks.
The question of whether the STL industry needs to be regulated, and how, has been settled. There has been substantial consultation over a 4-year period beginning in April 2019 giving communities and STL operators and lobbyists plenty of scope to put their views forward. From the outset, there was majority support for regulation and enforcement and little support for a market-based mechanism of control.
The initiation date for the new regulations to come into effect was delayed from 1 April 2023 to 1 October 2023, following concerns raised by local authorities and industry alike. Separately, the City of Edinburgh Council consulted widely on establishing a Short-Term Let Control Area (STLCA) noting that Planning Guidance on STLs has been in existence in Edinburgh since 2011. The establishment of a STLCA was recommended by approval by the Council and approved by the Scottish Government. The STL sector participated in all these consultations.
It is the settled will of the Scottish Parliament and the City of Edinburgh Council that short-term lets must be regulated. The failure of STL operators in the City of Edinburgh to make suitable planning and licencing applications rests with them. There can be no claim of lack of engagement or lack of awareness of the new and existing regulations.
Local community, housing and amenity organisations all support the regulations, and the need to apply for planning permission to operate what are essentially commercial businesses. Operators of STLs, whether they be individuals or large letting agencies, seldom think about the impact their businesses have on neighbours and even fewer might engage with them, in say a common stair, before they operate.
We ask that the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Government give little weight to the pressures posed by a well-funded industry lobby group. Local communities have been placed under huge pressures by the untrammelled expansion of STLs across the city. It is time to restore some balance and ensure that Edinburgh remains a place for people to live.