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Airbnb controls may breach data laws and Human Rights Convention

Scotland’s controversial licensing regime on Airbnbs and other short lets, due to start next month, may breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

That’s the view of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers - one of scores of tourism, property and leisure organisations which has complained about the Scottish Government proposals.  

The licensing legislation will require all short-term lets – from self-catering to B&Bs, and home-swapping to those renting out a room in their property – to have a licence to operate. 

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Now the head of the ASSC, Adrienne Carmichael, has written to First Minister Humza Yousaf to warn the proposals may be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as privacy and data protection laws.

Carmichael says the requirement for STL licensing applicants to publicly disclose their personal data on application notices and council licensing registers may be in contravention of Article 8 of the ECHR and the Scotland Act 1998, as well as General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act. 

And she adds there is “precious little, if any, evidence” that licensing authorities have undertaken a data privacy impact assessment. She says: “There are instances of operators who have worked in the security services and law enforcement, well versed in protecting their personal information from public scrutiny, who have now decided that the risks to them and their loved ones which are posed by a licence application are simply too great to take.”

Her colleague Fiona Campbell, chief executive at the Association of Scotland’ Self-Caterers, adds: “This is just another example of how the Scottish Government has taken forward incompetent legislation. They need to pause this disastrous scheme and undertake a much-needed review before it is too late.

“Our sector feels demonised for running small businesses in Scotland’s vital tourism sector and are demoralised at the fractious impact of the debate. When we have sought to highlight the many shortcomings of the licensing legislation, the threats and harassment often increase. The toxicity remains and if anything is getting worse, with operators blamed for all manner of societal ills.

“I speak from personal experience after being assaulted in 2018 and subjected to continued harassment from neighbours, purely through trying to earn a living for my family. Sadly, I am not alone. Many ASSC members have told me that they won’t give their personal details on the licence application for fear of being attacked. Remember, these are operators of legitimate small accommodation businesses, who are a vital and integral part of the tourism sector.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson says in response: “Good quality standards are at the heart of regulating the short-term let sector. Local councils’ licensing schemes have been in operation since October 2022 and many short-term let hosts have already obtained licences.

“… Six impact assessments, including a Data Protection Impact Assessment, were published as part of the 2020 consultation on the scheme. The Scottish Government will respond to the ASSC in due course.”

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    There is no Data Protection your information is shared all over the place. I went into a Bank to open an Account it seems they were able to see everything about me even though I never had any dealings with them. No wonder there’s so much scamming going on I think financial business transactions are in melt down.

    Daniela Provvedi

    That's what CBDC's are all about Michael. Digital Currencies and all that. We must vehemently refuse to accept this.
    Everyone will know everything about us; banks, supermarkets, insurance companies, Doctors, etc. CBDC's must not happen.

     
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    Gosh!

    Where did you find a bank Michael?

     
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    The AirBnB data availability will be a great opportunity for burglars and other scammers.

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    This will be the same if the RRbill becomes law. All our private data will be there for all to see.

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    It already is available in Scotland unfortunately.

     
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    Don't know if these two items helps anyone...
    1) On tenancy agreements, my address is given as the Agent's Offices, so tenants don't learn where I live (unless the person doing the Gas Safety Certificate writes it down, instead of the Agent's Offices).

    I hope to do the same if the stupid Renters Reform Bill proposal for a Lld Register and Ombudsman comes in, as I fear it will.

    2) In anticipation of S21 going, and having to rely on an amended Section 8, I've already tightened my new tenancy agreements massively, even though the Agents weren't happy these were going far beyond their standard terms. After S21 goes (Boo, Hiss), I'll check my terms carefully with a solicitor before letting to any new tenant, and look to see if/how I can make them even stronger.

     
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    I wonder that the response would be if we the public who are affected by the Scots Gov incessant attack on the PRS and the new laborious Short Lets Licence Requirements if we could have all the personal details, Names and the Address and personal contact details of all the politicians and Gov officials who have designed the numerous rules and regulations that are severely affecting most PRS owners and most PRS tenants.

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    Excellent point.
    This will be “yet another” court case challenge which the SG will spend our money on. SNP OUT!

     
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    They usually lie and use their constituency office address instead of their own home addresses.

     
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