Buy-to-let landlords in Scotland should not be permitted to use Airbnb, and equivalent websites, to rent out their properties for longer than three months, according to fresh proposals put before the Scottish government.
Short-term letting hosts should be restricted to renting out their properties for just 90 days under the plans, with landlords forced to pay business rates if they exceed this, an expert panel has suggested.
But the panel, which was created by the Scottish government and made up of representatives from Airbnb and VisitScotland, among others, believes that the 90 days should be in addition to peak festival periods.
A report produced by the panel stated: “There is clearly a delicate balance to strike in preserving the fabric of communities and accommodating tourists who are attracted to major city centres in Scotland.
“We do not wish to see the hollowing out of communities in cities, or a growing rise in aggression towards tourists – as has been seen in some other popular European cities like Barcelona.”
Last week Greens housing spokesman Andy Wightman MSP, who has campaigned on behalf of constituents, said: “Our concern is not so much with people renting out a room in their own house, that's a traditional Airbnb model.
“We're concerned with the conversion of whole residencies to commercial short-term letting, so having a blanket restriction is in my view not very sensible.
“They [Airbnb] are being used as a route to market by commercial operators who see it as a very cheap way of advertising the availability of a flat, which is used 100% of the year for commercial short-term letting.
“If AirBnB had a 90-day policy that would cut them out.”
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