During the last administration, a coalition of SNP and Labour councillors, The City of Edinburgh Council campaigned for change to the short term let regime.
Today The Scottish Government has agreed that Edinburgh can become the first short term let control area in Scotland.
The Scottish Government made the announcement and as soon as the Council gives the necessary legal notice the short term let control area will be brought into effect in September this year.
It means that if a house or flat is not someone’s principal home, and it is intended to use it for short term letting purposes – or holiday lets – then it will require formal change of use or planning permission. This change does not apply to home sharing or home letting.
Council Leader Cammy Day said: “This is the news we have been waiting for after years of leading the way in campaigning for change. I am delighted that Ministers have now, finally, answered our calls.
“It paves the way for Edinburgh becoming the first short-term let control area in Scotland. For far too long, too many homes have been lost in our city to the holiday market. In fact, around a third of all short term lets in Scotland are here in the capital, so their associated issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise have a detrimental effect on many of our residents.
“Plus, we have unique housing pressures in Edinburgh, with a small but densely populated city centre and a fast growing population. Combined with the surge in visitors we receive for the Festivals, this has always resulted in high demand for accommodation in the month of August. This change to policy will help us to control the number of properties being unsuitably used in this way and help us to better balance housing supply for local people all year round, without stopping people from renting out rooms to performers during the festivals.
“We will now progress implementing the changes and the next step should be looking at whether we can apply a cap on numbers, too.”
As part of the last council administration the SNP group also campaigned hard for the alteration.
Cllr Adam McVey, SNP Group Leader said: “We’re delighted to see that The Scottish Government has approved these much needed powers. We’re hugely grateful to The Scottish Government’s positive response to our call. We’d also like to thank all those in the city who responded to consultations and got behind our effort to deliver a short-term let control area covering the whole of Edinburgh.
“This will finally mean the Council is able to insist on full permissions for those residential properties operating as short-term lets and crucially give the power to turn down applications and ensure residential properties remain homes for residents.
“These powers have been hard won, with the Tories trying to undermine them in The Scottish Parliament. Serious questions now have to be asked about why the Tories have been given control of the enforcement of these powers in the council by Labour and the Lib Dems. We will continue to push hard for robust enforcement of these powers to protect supply of homes for our residents.”
As part of the new minority administration led by the Labour Group, some of the Convener positions were filled by LibDem and Conservative councillors – Cllr Louise Young (LibDem) is Convener of the Licensing Board with Conservative councillor Jason Rust as Vice-Convener, and Conservative councillor Joanna Mowat is the Convener of the Licensing Sub-Committee. Cllr Hal Osler is the Convener of the Development Management Sub-Committee and Councillor Neil Ross (Liberal Democrat) is Convener of the Regulatory Committee.