Greens reiterate concerns over ‘unlawful’ commercial holiday lets in Edinburgh

Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman has uncovered more evidence that suggests that a vast majority of commercial short-term holiday lets in Edinburgh are operating unlawfully.

Greens reiterate concerns over ‘unlawful’ commercial holiday lets in Edinburgh

A survey undertaken by the Lothian MSP found that just one property out of the 477 surveyed had the appropriate planning consents, suggesting 99.8% of commercial short term lets in the capital could be operating unlawfully.

The finding of the survey, published in a report today, mirror early results from March which revealed that just one of the 339 commercial short-term lets recorded to date had planning consent.

Mr Wightman said: “The results from my homes first research reveal the depressing truth of how out of control short term lets are in Edinburgh. All but one property identified have no planning consent to operate as short term lets, meaning that the rest are in all probability operating unlawfully.

“Many of my constituents have had their lives turned upside down because of the unregulated growth of what are essentially mini hotels operating in communal stairwells. More than 20% of respondents to my survey indicated that there were three or more short term lets operating in their building. And with the Scottish Government confirming that short term lets can resume operating on the 15th July, anxieties are being heightened once again.”

Mr Wightman said his principal concern has been domestic properties in shared tenement stairs that are operated as commercial businesses.

He added: “I wrote to the tourism minister on 12th June expressing my concerns, but he dismissed them as ‘manifestly ill-founded’ in the media and has yet to reply to my letter. I have also asked Ministers to ensure that commercial short term lets in shared stairs remain shut until 30 September but, failing that, at the very least to publish the scientific advice that says operating in shared stairwells is safe.

“My constituents deserve clarity, certainty and safety in the face of the remorseless advance of unauthorised commercial activity in their residential stairs.”

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