Airbnb boom ‘heaping pressure on Edinburgh’s housing stock’

More than 30 landlords are operating lucrative short term letting businesses in Scotland’s capital which is adding to the pressure on Edinburgh’s housing stock, new research has found.

The report by University of Sheffield academic Alasdair Rae, in partnership with Green MSP Andy Wightman, shows that 9,638 properties were listed for short-term let in Edinburgh on the short term letting site Airbnb in September 2017, an increase of 54% in just over a year from 6,272 in July 2016.

Of those 9,638 listings, 5,474 (or 56.8%) were for whole properties, while 4,126 were for a private room and just 38 for a shared room.

The figures include one Airbnb host, who was found to be renting out 80 properties in the capital through the site, 28 hosts had ten or more listings and seven hosts had more than 20.

The analysis, which was based on figures from Inside Airbnb, suggested that 36 landlords are running what could be considered to be lettings businesses renting out multiple whole properties.

All of these listings are for an entire home or apartment and are spread across neighbourhoods throughout the city.

Green housing spokesperson Andy Wightman MSP, whose Homes First campaign aims to control the rapid and unregulated growth of short-term lets, said councils need to be given new powers to better monitor and control this form of letting, particularly in neighbourhoods where there is an acute housing shortage.

The Lothian MSP added: “We already know about the scale of short term letting throughout the city as well as the misery it has brought many residents who now find themselves living next door to a de facto hotel. What’s alarming about the findings of this new piece of research is that the housing market in Edinburgh is rapidly shifting to being led by the demands of investors rather than residents who wish to rent or buy properties.

“While it may be lucrative in the short term, the long term impacts mean that potential homes are being informally turned into businesses and being removed from the housing stock. This disruption to the housing market must end and this report is further proof that we need to give councils new powers to plan and regulate the use of residential property for short term lets.”