Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman has raised concerns in Holyrood over the growing practice of short term holiday lets.
It’s a serious problem in places like the Old Town of Edinburgh where tenements are losing their long term residents as flats are rented out on this short term basis. The practice of this type of holiday letting, however, is spreading to rural and island communities.
In recognising that there was a problem, the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP, gave the following answer:
‘The Scottish Government has no plans to regulate the growth in short-term letting. However, we recognise that some concerns exist and we welcome the opportunity to engage further with stakeholders on the matter.’
The Minister then went on to speak about the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 which will come into force later this year.
He said ‘ It will provide security, stability and predictability for tenants through measures that include a new modern tenancy, rent increases being possible only once in every 12 months and tenants having three months’ notice of changes to enable them to budget accordingly. In addition, councils will have the power to apply to ministers for a cap on rent increases in their areas for up to five years, and there will be a broadening of access to dispute resolution through the housing and property chamber of the First-tier Tribunal.’
The Private Housing (Tenancies) ( Scotland) Act 2016 will introduce some significant changes to the way private landlords can rent out their properties to a tenant. The act will not become fully enforced until later this year, mostly likely August, however, the changes will affect both landlord and tenant.
- Short Assured Tenancy (SAT) to be replaced with Private Residential Tenancies (PRT)
- Limitations set on rent increases
- No fault eviction will go
- Tenancies last a minimum of 6 months unless otherwise agreed
- Tenancies can continue indefinitely, unless the landlord is able to invoke specific criteria to end them
- Rents can only be reviewed annually, with at least three months advance notice given of any intended increase – and can be appealed
- Properties designated in a rent pressure zone’ will only be allowed to increase rents by a percentage above the consumer price index plus one per cent for up to five years.
- Repossession will be more difficult
Andy Wightman further quizzed the Minister on the use of planning to tighten up the control of short term holiday lets. Encouraging Andy Wightman to engage in the current planning consultation the Minister responded:
‘The planning system cannot always readily distinguish between different types of housing tenure. Where a householder proposes to change the use of an existing residential flat, the requirement for planning permission will depend on the circumstances of each individual case, and the matter will be for the planning authority concerned, in the first instance.’
Reporter: Fiona Grahame