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New App allows activists to complain about Airbnb-style short lets

A tenants’ union has developed an app which it claims makes it easy to complain about short lets.

Living Rent - a union organising some private tenants in Scotland - says the app will “put power back in the hands of our community, and facilitate people to speak out about the destruction of our neighbourhoods.”

Users enter a postcode and the app then reveals the short let which is closest to the code - and it then gives a lengthy letter of complaint which the user can sent to the authorities, once they have added their name and contact details to make it appear as if it is a genuine complaint.


The app is only effective in Scotland, where since October 1 a new scheme means that short let landlords must apply for a license before they can start operating, or face a £2,500 fine and a ban from applying for a license for a year. 

In order to be granted a license, operators have been required to apply for planning permission to use the building as a short term let; the app works by finding planning permission requests. It then generate the auto-objection, which reads: 

"To whom it may concern,

"I am writing to comment in opposition to application reference number XXXX at XXXX.

"Our city is in the midst of a catastrophic housing crisis, and I believe that every holiday let is one less home for ordinary residents to live in. This development would exacerbate the crisis for all residents of the city, displacing people from their communities, driving up rents, and further reducing the desperately needed numbers of homes in the city. Planning decisions should first and foremost cater for the needs and interests of the city’s residents, and this proposed development runs counter to that.

"Moreover, I believe that this development is incompatible with planning and development policies at both a local and national level.

"The Edinburgh City Plan 2030 states that “[p]roposals which would result in the loss of residential dwellings through demolition or a change of use will not be permitted”. Every proposed holiday let could be a residential dwelling, and I do not believe that granting this application is in keeping with the policies outlined in the City Plan.

"The plan goes on to state that “[d]evelopments, including change of use which would have a materially detrimental effect on the living conditions of nearby residents, will not be permitted.” The impact of high concentrations of holiday lets on nearby rent levels is well documented, and I believe that granting this application will exacerbate the hardship faced by tenants in the community, and therefore is not in keeping with the City Plan.

"The Scottish Government's National Planning Framework 4 states:

“Development proposals for the reuse of existing buildings for short term holiday letting should not be supported if it would result in:

"• an unacceptable impact on the local amenity or character of a neighbourhood or area; or

"• the loss of residential accommodation where such loss is not outweighed by local economic benefits.”

"I strongly maintain that this development would have detrimental effects on the local amenity and character of the area, by removing what should be residential accommodation from local supply. I see no evidence that any local economic benefits outweigh this loss. It also seems clear to me that this development will place a significant burden on local services such as rubbish collection and public transport, negatively impacting all local residents within the community."

You can see the app here.

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  • icon

    The major flaw with this is that it will only pick up the short let's who have applied for planning. As usual - hit the people who are trying to do the right thing over the head whilst leaving the rogues to go their merry way.

  • icon

    Perhaps if these tenants unions put their efforts in gainful employment, they might be able to own their own homes.


    I was literally just going to post the exact same thing. Too much time on their hands.

  • George Dawes

    One thing they’re good at



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