Edinburgh agrees to introduce powers to control short term lets
A proposal to ask the Scottish Government to designate the City of Edinburgh Council area as a short term let (STL) control area has been approved by councillors.
Agreed by the local authority’s Planning Committee yesterday following extensive consultation with the public as well as industry bodies, the approach would see residential property owners wholly letting a property as an STL, which is not their principle home, needing to apply for planning permission for a ‘change of use’.
The introduction of powers to create a control area follows the council calling for new legislation to tighten up the control of STLs to help manage high concentrations of secondary letting where it affects the availability of residential housing or the character of a neighbourhood.
Also, it will help to restrict or prevent STLs in places or types of buildings where they are not appropriate as well as making sure homes are used to best effect in their areas.
Generally renting out a room/s in your own home or letting your home whilst on holiday would also still be allowed if Edinburgh became an STL control area.
The Scottish Parliament has approved legislation that will introduce a new licensing scheme due to come into effect later this year.
The City of Edinburgh Council said this will address the issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise, which have all had a detrimental effect on communities as the number of STLs has greatly increased across the city in recent years.
Councillor Neil Gardiner, planning convener, said: “Around a third of STLs in Scotland are in Edinburgh. They’re in every council ward in the city with concentrations in some areas. So, today’s decision is great news for people across the city and I’m pleased committee unanimously got behind the proposal.
“We worked hard calling for new legislation to help us have greater controls over STLs and we’re now in a position to move forward and ask government if the whole of the city can be zoned as a STL control area.
“If approved by government, these new powers for Edinburgh will provide the clarity we need where planning permission is required for a change of use. Just now, if it’s reported to us that a property has changed its use without planning permission, our enforcement team has to look at each case individually. This is a very lengthy and time consuming process.
“The new short-term let control area would complement the new licensing legislation. We also called for this and I’m pleased to see they will work tandem: you’ll need the right planning consent for your property when obtaining a licence.”
Councillor Maureen Child, planning vice-convener, said: “We know short STLs are an issue for many of our residents across the city.
“The report we considered today highlights the growing pressures of the STL commercial market, which requires a cross-city approach to regulations. With high concentrations in central areas, there are commercial STLs in every council ward in this city. And during our consultation the vast majority of you from across the city favoured a whole city approach. In some areas STLs have hollowed out communities, put more pressure on the housing market causing prices to rise, and created other issues such as anti-social behaviour and noise. So, I’m delighted we’re now asking for government approval to adopt this legislation for the whole of Edinburgh.”