One in ten Edinburgh city centre properties listed on Airbnb

One in ten properties in Edinburgh city centre are listed on Airbnb, according to a new investigation.

The number of Edinburgh properties listed on the service has doubled to 12,000 since 2016, The Times reports, with concerns that a lack of regulation is exacerbating the housing crisis in the Scottish capital.

The newspaper has published a map breaking down Airbnb lets by area, with 922 properties listed in the Old Town, Princes Street and Leith Street area alone.

A report published last month by tenants’ union Living Rent found that landlords are abusing holiday let contracts to evade their responsibilities to tenants, some of whom are staying in their properties for up to 10 months or more.

A Scottish government consultation on the regulation of short-term lets closed last month.

Councillor Kate Campbell, housing convener at City of Edinburgh Council, told The Times that the impact of Airbnb-style holiday lets on Edinburgh’s housing supply is “very worrying”.

She added: “We’ve got 12,000 properties at a time when local government resources are under pressure … It’s challenging.”

Rob Trotter, partner at lettings agency DJ Alexander, said the lack of regulation was inspiring a “race to the bottom”.

He asid: “The problem is a complete imbalance. If the short-term market had regulations of its own, safety checks and certificates and minimum standards, it would be an even playing field. But at the moment we’re saying, ‘If you come to the long-term market you’re going to have to spend all this money doing this, that and the other’. There are all sorts of codes of conduct to comply with, there’s less of a tax incentive.

“Versus rent on the short-term market — you don’t have to do anything, you can collect loads of money and there’s virtually no cost. That’s where the imbalance has arisen. What we’re seeing is a race to the bottom.”

A spokesperson for Airbnb said: “While guests travelling on Airbnb accounted for just three per cent of visitors to Scotland in 2018 and entire homes on Airbnb account for less than one per cent of stock, our community boosted the economy by more than £693 million last year.”

Tags: Airbnb

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