Short-term lets in Edinburgh to require planning permission

The Scottish capital is home to a third of all short-term lets in the country.

Short-term lets in Edinburgh to require planning permission iStock
Edinburgh to be made short-term let control area following council proposals.

Edinburgh’s short-term lets will require planning permission after the Scottish Government approved plans to make the entire city a control area.

A third of all short-term lets in Scotland can be found in Edinburgh and the local council earlier this year made proposals to limit numbers.

Owners will now have to apply for planning permission in order to change the use of their property from a residential home to a short-term let.

“Edinburgh was the first local authority in Scotland to propose a short-term let control area and Scottish Government approval represents a major step forward”, said housing secretary Shona Robison.

New owners of short-term lets across Scotland will be required to apply to the local council for a licence to operate from October this year – existing owners will have until April 2023.

Robison added: “We have committed to give local authorities the powers to address concerns about the impact of commercial short-term letting in their communities, should they want to do that.

“This is an example of that local choice in action – supported by the majority of respondents to the council’s consultation on the proposed designation.

“I recognise the important role which short-term lets play as a source of flexible and responsive accommodation for tourists and workers, which brings many benefits to hosts, visitors and our economy.

“However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hot spots, high numbers of lets can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in.”

Edinburgh will be the first example of an entire city being made into a control area in Scotland.

Council leader Cammy Day said: “This is the news we have been waiting for after leading the way in campaigning for change.

“I am delighted that ministers have answered our calls and we look forward to reviewing the full details included in the decision released today.

“It paves the way for Edinburgh becoming the first short-term let control area in Scotland. For far too long, too many homes have been lost in our city to the holiday market.

“In fact, around a third of all short-term lets in Scotland are here in the capital, so their associated issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise have a detrimental effect on many of our residents.

“We will now progress implementing the changes and the next step should be looking at whether we can apply a cap on numbers, too.”

The changes were passed by the council’s planning committee unanimously earlier this year, while 85% of respondents to a consultation backed the move.

However, Airbnb has said stricter regulations could hit the economy hard – it claimed that the move could cost the economy as much as £133m and 7,000 jobs.