Landlords ‘abusing’ holiday let contracts to undermine tenants’ rights
Landlords are abusing Airbnb-style “holiday let” contracts to evade their responsibilities to tenants, some of whom are staying in their properties for up to 10 months or more, according to a damning new report.
Three cases have been highlighted in the latest report from Living Rent, which said housing legislation and tenants’ rights were being undermined by the loophole.
The Scottish tenants’ union highlighted the case of an Edinburgh landlord who was struck-off from the landlord register but had since taken advantage of the fact “holiday let” landlords don’t need to be registered to continue letting properties.
Holiday let leases afford tenants almost none of the protections they would be guaranteed under Short-Assured Tenancies or Scottish Private Residential Tenancies, the union pointed out.
Neither landlords nor agencies operating on their behalf need to register, properties are exempt from HMO licensing, tenants aren’t entitled to deposit protection, the properties are not held to the same fire safety and repair standards, and tenants can be evicted much more easily.
Living Rent claim they have been approached by an increasing number of tenants who have been put on these kinds of contracts, and that the Scottish Government and local authorities are turning a blind eye to these abuses.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a consultation into holiday lets at the weekend, but Living Rent said the Scottish Government could go a long way towards closing the “loophole” without new legislation and are urging action prior to the end of the consultation.
Megan Bishop, from Living Rent and co-author of the report, said: “It’s abysmal how tenants are being treated. We’ve had cases from tenants living in properties in such extreme disrepair it’s threatening their health and safety.
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s consultation on holiday lets, but if they are serious about protecting tenants, they need take action now close this loophole and drastically step up regulation and ensure tenants are safe.”