By Kirsty Henderson
PLACE is a recently established grassroots network of Edinburgh residents who have all suffered the impact of short-term letting on their lives. Using their own lived experiences, the networks aims to offering education and support to those who have similar problems; and in helping people to challenge unlawful short-term letting businesses, using the existing regulations of title deeds and the planning system. We are proud to be part of the emerging CITIZEN network.
Many members of the network have already been successful in getting enforcement notices to close down unlawful short-term letting businesses in residential properties, but the process is currently long, stressful and it is too easily evaded by uncaring operators.
In order to protect residents and tourists more forcefully from the uncontrolled rise in unlawful short-term lets and their negative impacts, the group is fighting to increase regulations, and the powers to enforce those regulations; lobbying the Scottish Government and working with the City of Edinburgh Council through a Participation Request. As part of this Participation Request the group needs to show that short-term lets are a issue in communities and that people agree with the draft Recommendations.
Below are the draft Recommendations, which they hope will influence policy at the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government, to Protect Liveable, Affordable Communities in Edinburgh.
The Draft Recommendations:
1. A licensing system – Homeowners can register for a home sharing allowance of four whole-property short-term lets per year. No two lets can occur in the same month.
2. A simple on-line system – Owners apply for this license by confirming simple health and safety checks, proof of relevant ownership and insurances.
3. Only licensed properties may be advertised – It would be illegal to advertise a short-term let without a valid license number.
4. Planning permission – Owners who wish to operate more than four short-term lets per year can apply for planning permission for a change of use.
5. Protect the housing stock, especially the small number of accessible and affordable homes – The Local Development Plan should be updated, reinstating HOU 6 from the 2010 Local Development Plan which recognised the housing crisis and resisted the change of residential properties to other uses.
The group is looking for residents with lived experience of short-term lets to provide feedback on their draft Recommendations. The group is always open to talking to community groups, residents groups, Community Councils, Councillors, MSPs and other decision makers to discuss the draft Recommendations. This can be done by contacting PLACE at:
Twitter – @PLACEEdinburgh
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook – https://m.facebook.com/PLACEEdinburgh