Edinburgh Airbnb host banned



An Edinburgh woman renting her flat on Airbnb has been ordered to stop following noise complaints.

The women, who had let her £300,000 Grassmarket area flat out to tourists, said that she was a “five-star superhost” and relied upon the rent as her main source of income.

However, noise complaints led to an investigation by Edinburgh City Council officials, who subsequently issued an order for her to stop renting the flat out. Edinburgh city council said that using Airbnb to allow people to stay breached planning rules.

Ms Burnett had appealed to the Scottish Government, but her plea has been rejected.

John Martin, the government reporter, said that using the flat for short-term lets “has had a material effect on the character and intensity of the residential use in the block, particularly as the flat is on an upper level”.

Mr Martin agreed with the council that Ms Burnett had breached planning rules and must seek planning permission for a change of use from a residential property if she intended to continue the rental business.

A report has indicated that in Edinburgh, one in ten properties in the city centre are listed on Airbnb. It revealed that only 35 have applied for planning permission to operate as commercial businesses.

Residents in Ms Burnett’s block wrote to the Scottish government detailing their complaints about her letting operation. They said that visitors were noisy and had caused single women living in the block to feel alarmed.

They said: “Flat Six is constantly busy and usually at maximum occupancy, sometimes over maximum occupancy. This represents in the three years it’s been running a vast amount of foot traffic on our stair. We know one another and are careful who we permit into the building. Strangers don’t care and habitually hold the door open for anyone without challenging them. We have had to escort people off the premises on many occasions. Whether rough sleepers or those looking for somewhere to take drugs. This simply was not an issue before. It is of particular concern where our single female residents find non-residents in between them and their flat door, as has happened at least twice.”

Ms Burnett contrastingly said that she paid business rates on the Airbnb scheme and closely monitored guests.

Her appeal letter said: “I am hard-working and professional and courteous and look after this property in terms of cleanliness inside and out as much, if not more, than I do my own house. This is because this property is my livelihood that my children and I rely upon. In that respect I am also reliant upon a clean stair and property, to create and continue positive visitor reviews. I am a five-star ‘superhost’ as categorised by Airbnb, due to these factors. I have hosted zero stag parties, zero hen parties and would immediately decline such if asked, I have strict rules of conduct and welcome primarily middle-aged tourists, city visitors and businessmen/women.”



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