App helps residents draft objections to local short-term lets

Gordon Maloney from Living Rent Scotland created the app amid a 'housing crisis' in Edinburgh.

Living Rent Scotland creates app to battle short-term lets amid ‘severe’ Edinburgh housing crisis iStock

A renters union hopes to give residents in Edinburgh the ‘power’ to challenge new short-term lets in their local community thanks to a new app.

Living Rent Scotland launched the app in a bid to allow locals to have a say amid a ‘housing crisis’ in the capital.

The app will allow people to search specific postcodes that will list locations with short-term let applications currently in motion.

It will then give users a template objection letter to send to the government as well as advice on how to write an objection themselves.

Gordon Maloney created the app at his own expense and free time in a bid to tackle the issue.

Homes not holiday lets app.Living Rent Scotland

Mr Maloney said: “We built the app because Edinburgh is in a severe housing crisis.

“There is an enormous number of short term lets in the city, and many of them operate illegally.

“We say that every short let is one less home for ordinary residents to live in,” he told STV News.

Mr Maloney understands that holiday lets and tourism are important for the city but says there needs to be more of a balance.

He added that the response to the app shows people in Edinburgh have “had enough of the profit of landlords being held above the needs of ordinary residents”.

When creating the app Mr Maloney struggled to find any information on government websites around short term licensing, and hoped the app would make it easier for people.

“Landlords that have previously operated unlawfully are sapping much needed housing stock from people,” he said.

“There’s need to be more thinking about the needs of the community.”

It comes after the Scottish Government introduced new legislation that all short-term let accommodation must have a licence.

Operators who fail to sign up to the scheme before the October 1 deadline could receive a £2,500 fine if they continue operating.

Council leader Cammy Day said: “With the deadline for applying for short-term let license for existing operators less than 48 hours away, I would urge everyone who is yet to apply to visit our website and follow the necessary steps.

“Over the weekend we will be putting extra resources to manage the expected high volume of applications.

“On Monday, the Regulatory Committee will be considering our approach to enforcement in the city.

“We’re committed to ensuring that everyone benefits from Edinburgh’s thriving visitor economy, but this must be managed, and it has to be sustainable – and these fair and effective short term let controls are an important step in the right direction.”

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