Arianeburgess MSP, convener for the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Agenda, has asked Scottish residents to voice their opinions on short-term let legislation.
Scotland boasts some of the most stunning natural scenery in the entire world. It’s no surprise that places like Skye’s Fairy Pools and Edinburgh Castle have experienced such a surge in visitors. People want to experience the beauty firsthand.
This popularity has resulted in a significant increase in short-term rentals, such as Airbnb within our communities. These are a great alternative to traditional hotel accommodation and can be much cheaper. This allows local residents to rent out a room or property, making it much more affordable and accessible for thousands.
Some would argue that popularity comes at a price. In some areas, such as the Highlands and Islands, where I am representing, it is becoming more difficult for residents to live in their own communities due to the high concentration of short-term let properties. They live in the same areas as their communities.
It is clear that there must be a balance between community needs and the economic benefits of short-term let.
Many would argue that there is more to be done, as half of short-term rentals are concentrated in Edinburgh and Highlands. This will ensure that local communities survive and thrive.
Already, local authorities have the power to create control zones for short-term rentals. Anyone wishing to rent out a property for a short term must apply for planning permission.
The Scottish Government announced plans to create a licensing program for short-term lets. There are many critics and controversies surrounding these plans, and much has been said about whether they are the best way forward.
What will this new licensing system have on the community? The Local Government, Planning and Housing Committee, which I chair at the Scottish Parliament, examines whether further regulation of this type let will be able to strike the right balance between tourism and the needs of communities.
According to the Government, the licensing scheme is designed to increase safety for short-term lettutors, as well as make it easier for local authorities and residents to report on what’s happening in their area.
This committee is interested in finding out if regulations can be used to strike a balance between the protection of housing and the sustainability of local areas. We also want to see if they can help bring about the economic benefits that tourism brings. We want to hear from you if there are any short-term rentals in your area. Also, whether these measures have had an impact on your community. Do you have a short-term rental property? Let us know if you think these regulations would work for you.