Airbnb hosts ordered to cease operations

By Alejandro Basterrechea

A group of landlords in central Edinburgh have been banned from letting out their flats on Airbnb the company says.

The decision came after a City Council investigation and numerous complaints about noise and disturbances from other residents of the area.

The City Council investigation uncovered that the flats in question were being rented out over 200 nights per year.

The flats, in the busy Bread Street area, advertised a perfect central location with best views of the castle.

Planning officials issued an enforcement notice ordering landlords to stop renting activities.

Many flats in the area are being used for short-term lets during the Fringe Festival, with no minimum requirements on safety and or cleaning standards.

Helen, a local resident for more than 30 years, said: “They are transforming living rooms and kitchens into rooms to rent and making a profit. We have to deal with rubbish in the corridors and loud music at all times of the day”.

Southside residents are also concerned that short term lets are not providing a home, which is affecting the sense of community in the area.

Tim Pogson, a spokesman from the Community Centre, said: “If Airbnb became predominant in the Southside, our local primary school would be closed down, as there wouldn’t be the resident children to justify its continued existence.”

Airbnb claims they have responded to concerns and support new regulations, such as a registration system, which would aim to prevent anti-social behaviour.

The Scottish Government is discussing a new licensing scheme for Airbnb hosts, which would be required for any commercial letting operations, and would ensure safety and cleanliness standards.

Similar measures are in place major cities across Europe.

In Paris, registration for short-term lettings is now mandatory; Barcelona has suspended all new short-term rental permits; and Amsterdam has cut its permitted short-term lettings limit from two months a year to one.