[This article was first published in the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper on the 30th of April 2019]
Finally, following mounting pressure the Scottish Government have decided to call time on the ever-increasing numbers of Airbnb properties and other short-term lets in Edinburgh.
The latest figures for Edinburgh indicate that there are now over 12,000 properties listed in Edinburgh, that’s one Airbnb listing for every 42 residents living here.
A lot of these short term lets are located in the city centre, focused in the Old and New Town hollowing out our city centre and turning it in to one big tourist trap rather than a place for local residents to live and work.
After years of campaigning for action from the SNP Scottish Government from local residents and MSPs like Andy Wightman and I, it looks as though they will finally crackdown on short-term lets by committing to the introduction of new legislation that will subject them to the same rules as hotels and B&Bs. Rightly so.
With the summer and Edinburgh fringe festival once again approaching, residents across the city will fear the annual influx of Airbnb visitors. The endless clunk of suitcases being hauled up stairs, the late night knocks at the door from Airbnb guests at the wrong flat, and the excess noise created by the so-called party flats and all the associated anti-social behaviour and litter that goes along with that.
Introducing better regulation to ensure our city centre isn’t hollowed out for short term let opportunists at the cost of local residents is essential to retaining the character and nature of Edinburgh, so this is a welcome move.
Handing the council the power to control the number of lets they allow is crucial, and local residents well welcome a long overdue change.