Edinburgh to discuss recommendations to improve regulation of short term let industry

A team dedicated to dealing with complaints about short term lets could be set up in Edinburgh under new proposals being considered by the local authority.

The move is one of the recommendations agreed by a working group which was set up by the City of Edinburgh Council to look at how it can make best use of its existing powers to address complaints being made about the misuse of residential properties in the city.

For the longer term, the group has also recommended that the council makes a request to the Scottish Government asking for the introduction of a new licensing system.

There is clearly a need for a solution to the scale of the problem in Edinburgh, which is acknowledged by the Scottish Government’s report from The Expert Panel on The Collaborative Economy which states that any solution could be piloted in Edinburgh and may have relevance to other areas of the country.

At present local authorities have no powers to license or register short term lets but they have some powers under planning, trading standards and environmental health, anti-social behaviour and waste legislation.

The new dedicated team would deal with any complaints made about short term lets and where possible use the powers the council currently has to address them.

Cllr Kate Campbell, housing and economy convener, said: “We know that short term lets are having a detrimental impact on residents and communities and I see regulation of this sector as the way forward.

“Our new dedicated team, made up of experts from the council, will make best use of the powers we have available to us to resolve any complaints.

“But we think, in the long term, a licensing regime is needed to really get to grips with the industry. This would give us the power to control the concentration and numbers of short term lets in the city. It would also allow us to put in place health and safety requirements and a ‘fit and proper person’ test for landlords.

“Residents are suffering because of short term lets. Finding solutions for our communities is a priority for this administration.

“The Scottish Government’s response to the Collaborative Economy report is incredibly welcome in that it talks about working with us to consider a pilot regulatory solution for the city. This is exactly the approach we were hoping for and we are keen to work together to protect communities and particularly to stop any negative impacts on housing supply and rising rents.”

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