Airbnb has joined a chorus of calls from Scotland’s short-lets sector urging the government to rethink hard-line plans to regulate its activities.

The hosting platform warns that these could jeopardise 17,000 jobs in the country and take almost £1 million a day out of the Scottish economy.

Holyrood is currently consulting on the plans which include a mandatory licensing scheme to ensure all short-term lets are safe and address issues faced by neighbours.

They would also give more power to local councils to manage pressures created by the sector and, if passed by Parliament, would take effect by April 2021.

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Airbnb’s research shows how tourism related to the site boosts the Scottish economy by £677 million a year and supports more than 33,500 Scottish jobs.

It adds that the average Scottish family would need to pay more than £700 to meet the legal and technical requirements of sharing a spare room in their home under the Government’s proposals.

Licence

Before Scots could welcome guests into their homes, hosts would also need to pay for a licence and potentially pay for government mandated renovations such as replacing wooden floors with carpet or vinyl flooring. 

Airbnb director of public policy, Patrick Robinson (left), says: “It can’t be right that hosts need to rip up their floors and hire consultants before they can welcome a guest into their home for the night. We want to find a balanced approach and work with the government to regulate short-term lets while protecting livelihoods.” 

Airbnb wants short-term rentals to be regulated and suggests instead that there should be a national registration system with lighter rules for occasional hosts and more thorough conditions for commercial operators. 

The news comes after 38 prominent figures from the tourism sector wrote to Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, calling on him to delay the licensing plans amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The problem is that most AirBnB is FRAUDULENT.

    NO residential insurer allows continual guests.

    No freeholder allows such guests
    No lender apart from about two allow AirBnB

    The whole AirBnB business model is based on contravening regulations of all sorts.

  2. I have to disagree with you in part there. You are making a rather sweeping statement – how much of it is based on actual experience of the sector? We have residential letting properties ourselves which are subject to the usual legislation – and which cost more than they make – and we also manage a range of holiday lets which makes up the bulk of our income, that is, from the housekeeping and laundry, all physical jobs. Several clients rent out their properties through AirBnB, and adhere strictly to what regulations the platform imposes, frequently adding extra standards that are currently not mandatory, but which they have imported, via ourselves, from other holiday letting agencies. All complete tax returns. Rubbish and recycling is treated in accordance with local regulation, as waste produced by domestic use in a holiday setting is considered as commercial in origin – technically true, but rather different from the amount of waste produced and disposed of by a factory or a hospital, for example. We have been working within this framework for several years and have experienced far less trouble than our own residential properties have caused – that is, the tenants who rented from us could be absolute bastards, and frequently were, and could take months to get rid of, at astronomical cost, whereas the average guest is only a blot on the horizon for a week or two at most, and a good scrub and some replacement glasses or cups are usually all that is needed. One or two (out of thousands) made a name for themselves with appalling behaviour, but these were almost exclusively from the more expensive properties let through a specialised lettings agency to people quite old and wealthy enough to know better. (Baron F in particular…) No AirBnB guest of our clients has caused a complaint to be made, or behaved in a way likely to estrange them from anyone. We intend to use the platform ourselves to solve the problem of a flat which has never had a good tenant since it was converted, and which is more suitable due to it’s size, as a short term let, rather than a long-term residential property. At this rate, with legislation pinning one down continually, yet never actually used intelligently to improve anything – think overpopulation here – it will be impossible to get out of bed without having to fill in a form and send a cheque to the blasted council.

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