It can be difficult to find a place to rent when moving to somewhere new for either work or study. People growing up in a community may also find it hard to find accommodation of their own. Housing problems do not just affect individuals – they impact on the economy of a community if workers cannot find a suitable place to live. They may have to give up that job – and that is a social and an economic loss to communities.
The Scottish Government’s consultation on short term lets closes on 22nd of July. Short term lets have become increasingly popular in some areas where there is a lot of tourism activity.
The consultation is to determine what kind of regulatory powers local authorities should have to be able to deal with the problem of workers, students and citizens being unable to find affordable rented homes in their own communities because of the explosion in short term lets for holidaymakers.
This has seen a massive increase in many parts of Scotland. Edinburgh is probably what comes to mind first but the Highlands and Islands are also affected – including Orkney.
Visit Scotland estimates that Airbnb accounts for 5% of all tourism accommodation – figures from 2016. The trend is upwards.
These are for single rooms and a whole property. The lets are mostly from a single host but there are some where a host has multiple properties to let.
For a short-term let to take place, a host offers short-term accommodation to one or more guests, i.e. it does not become the main residence of the guest. Short-term lets are not private residential tenancies, which require that the tenant occupies the property (or part of it) as their only or principal home. Therefore, guests do not have the same rights in law as tenants.
Short term lets not only have an adverse affect on the availability of affordable rented accommodation in communities but their success means visitors are by-passing using hotels, self-catering and B&Bs (who are regulated and are registered as businesses which has a cost to them) with a subsequent loss of trade.
Andy Wightman said:.
” My proposal for a regulatory regime distinguishes between those who are sharing their own home and those operating a commercial short-term let that is not the sole or main residence of any person.
“It proposes the continuing requirement for planning consent for the latter and a licensing regime designed to regulate the operators of both types of short-term letting enterprises.”
Andy Wightman MSP, Scottish Greens, has produced a handy image of how he would like to see short term lets regulated.
Andy Wightman continued:
“Scotland is in the grip of a housing crisis and the upsurge in short-term lets means that there has been an evident reduction in the availability of good quality affordable housing.
“Healthy and sustainable communities can be achieved and I do welcome these first steps towards introducing a framework for what is essentially an unregulated sector.”
The Scottish Government is proposing a national framework that includes discretionary powers for local authorities. This means that councils can choose whether or not to use them.
You can find more information and the consultation by clicking on this link: Short-Term Lets: Consultation
Reporter: Fiona Grahame