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Airbnb to restrict ‘entire home’ rentals to 90 days in another UK city

Short-let platform tries to quell criticism within Edinburgh that landlords are using its platform to rent out properties on a 'commercial' basis.

Nigel Lewis

Airbnb imageAirbnb has offered to restrict the period landlords can rent out their properties in Edinburgh to 90 days a year, copying a similar ban it introduced in London last year following criticism of its business model.

In London, from January 2017 any ‘entire home’ listing has been limited automatically by the company’s software to a maximum 90 days total per calendar year.

This has now been mooted in Edinburgh by the Californian company in a submission it made to a expert panel set up by the Scottish government due to publish its findings next week.

Airbnb: ‘commercial’ lets?

Criticisms of the way landlords use Airbnb in Edinburgh echo those made in London; that too many landlords are buying properties with the express purpose of renting them out via the platform.

This, says Green MSP Andy Wightman (pictured, left), means Airbnb is 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,” he told the BBC.

Wightman says this is far from its original purpose, which was to enable home owners to make extra cash from spare rooms in their homes, and that Airbnb was helping landlords avoid £10 million in tax within Edinburgh because they did not pay business rates.

Research by the Residential Landlords Association last year revealed that the number of buy-to-let investors renting on Airbnb increased by 54% between March 2016 and March 2017.

And a recent article in The Scotsman revealed that within one apartment block in the city ten out of 12 properties were now being used for short-term lets to holidaymakers, having previously been rented or owned by city residents.

Read more about Airbnb.

January 22, 2018

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