Call for Airbnb short term lettings to be restricted in Scotland
February 05, 2018 - Scotland
Proposals have been put to the Scottish Government to restrict short term lettings using websites such as Airbnb to just 90 days a year.
Concerns are growing that in places like Edinburgh, where there is a severe lack of accommodation during the popular festival periods, houses are being bought by people who have no intention of living in them and are effectively cashing in on the tourism boom.
An expert panel set up by the Scottish Government has called for short term lettings to be restricted to just 90 days and exceeding the limit should require a change of use permission and landlords should also pay business rates if they exceed the limit.
The panel, made up of representatives from Airbnb and tourism body VisitScotland as well as others, also says that the 90 days should be in addition to peak festival periods.
It is well documented that Edinburgh does not have enough hotel rooms to meet demand at peak tourism times. Data from VisitScotland shows that 23% of all tourist visitors to Scotland stay in self-catering accommodation accounting for 3.4 million nights per year.
These figures are exclusive of accommodation booked through platforms like Airbnb. VisitScotland indicated that Airbnb accounted for 5% of all tourist accommodation in 2016.
Figures from Airbnb show that as of July 2017 there were 21,900 Airbnb hosts in Scotland of which 9,000 or 41% were in Edinburgh. On average, Scottish hosts earn £3,600 a year via the platform with guests staying an average of three nights.
The figure also show that there were 802,000 total guests in Scotland of which 411,000 or 51% in Edinburgh with over 70,000 during the festival period in August.
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