Trade associations and landlords specializing in short-term rentals are making a final plea to policymakers to prevent the implementation of new regulations that could result in the potential removal of a significant number of Airbnb listings.
The recent regulatory framework introduced by the Scottish Government necessitates that both Airbnb hosts and hosts of other short-term rentals prominently exhibit Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings within their advertisements. Additionally, they must provide evidence of building legitimacy and public liability insurance, along with adhering to fire and gas safety protocols – akin to the requisites imposed upon the more conventional private rental sector.
It is imperative for hosts and landlords to complete their registration before the 1st of October to ensure uninterrupted continuation of their operations.
The Scottish Government has delegated the enforcement of these regulations to local councils, and notably, the Edinburgh council is contemplating the imposition of a visitor levy. This levy would be applicable to short-term rentals, hotels, and bed and breakfast establishments alike.
Edinburgh council members have been presented with a document prepared by local government officials cautioning that should these regulations proceed, it’s plausible that roughly 80 percent of the current Airbnb and other short-term rental offerings may vanish.
Records from Edinburgh council reveal that a mere 111 requests have gained approval as of the conclusion of July, with an additional 119 requests under deliberation. Notably, an approximate tally of 4,000 properties within the city are presently enlisted solely on Airbnb.
Presently, the Scottish Bed & Breakfast Association, an organization representing the tourism sector, has issued a final urgent plea to the Scottish First Minister, Humza Yousaf. Their entreaty seeks to persuade him to temporarily halt the implementation of the proposed licensing measures.
Equally noteworthy, the Association of Scottish Self Caterers, another trade association, asserts that the framework, if put into action, could effectively translate to a prohibition on short-term rentals within Edinburgh. They are actively pursuing a legal examination of these regulations; if sanctioned, it would mark the second such evaluation of these propositions.
Residents of Edinburgh who serve as Airbnb hosts, while being interviewed on STV News, have raised concerns that these regulations might render Scotland a subject of ridicule due to the substantial adverse repercussions on the economy.
A spokesperson representing the Scottish Government has conveyed to local Edinburgh media: “Councils across the region are currently processing the growing influx of applications from hosts seeking short-term let licences prior to the 1st of October deadline. As of now, no instances of denial regarding short-term let licence applications have been encountered within Edinburgh. If an application is submitted within the stipulated timeframe, hosts can continue their trade beyond the specified date.
“Central to the regulation of the short-term let sector are the principles of maintaining high-quality standards. This approach not only offers reassurance to those visiting and staying in Scotland, but also underlines the commitment to robust oversight.
“A substantial number of hosts may already be in alignment with the conditions for licensing, as a result of their compliance with prevailing legislation or adherence to exemplary practices. In tandem with establishing uniform criteria for short-term lets, the licensing system is set to yield accurate statistics pertaining to such accommodations, a first of its kind.
“Responding to a recent Judicial Review which necessitated certain amendments, Edinburgh City Council has recalibrated its policies governing short-term lets. The council is actively receiving and processing applications on a daily basis.”
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