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by Kirsteen Paterson
08 June 2023
Edinburgh holiday lettings restrictions are unlawful, court rules

Edinburgh holiday lettings restrictions are unlawful, court rules

Plans to limit holiday lets in Edinburgh have been ruled unlawful following what is said to be the largest crowdfunder in UK legal history.

Four petitioners took City of Edinburgh Council to the Court of Session over regulations for Airbnb-style short-term lets.

Increased usage of flats in the capital for holiday stays is said to have put pressure on the housing market. The council planned to bring in a new licensing scheme in response, with the regime set to come into force within months.

However, judge Lord Braid has ruled part of the proposal is unlawful following a judicial review brought thanks to a £300,000 crowdfunder which took donations from around 1,000 people.

Council leader Cammy Day said the local authority is now considering its next steps.

Lord Braid found the council's policy was unlawful in respect of the lack of provision for temporary licences.

The requirement for some hosts to supply floor coverings was also found to be outwith the council's powers.

He determined that it would be "irrational" to adopt a scheme with a presumption that short-term licences would not be granted for premises within a tenement.

In a statement, the petitioners said they hope the council and Scottish Government will "seek a fresh approach that aims to collaborate and work with local operators of self-catering accommodation".

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers, said the ruling would have an impact on other licensing schemes planned for Scottish regions and called for the Scottish Government to "go back to the drawing board on short-term let regulation".

Day said the lettings plan aimed to tackle anti-social behaviour and ease housing pressures and the council must "strike the right balance between promoting our visitor economy while looking after the people that live here all year round".

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