An Update on the Charters

Happy New Year to everyone!

We recently published an updated Planning Enforcement Charter which explains the Council’s approach to investigating potential breaches of planning control. The enforcement charter is updated every two years and was recently reviewed by Committee in early December to outline the key changes.

The Charter provides useful information on what a breach of planning control is, how to report potential breaches to the Council, how we will carry out investigations, and what the possible outcomes of an investigation might be. The Charter also explains that the purpose of planning enforcement is to try and resolve breaches and mitigate any harm being caused, however, if a breach cannot be resolved through negotiation the Council may take formal action and in the most serious cases this can lead to fines or prosecution. The enforcement investigation process is summarised in the flowchart below.

Members of the public have an important role in bringing potential breaches to our attention and this is reflected in the high number of enquiries we receive each year. When reporting a potential breach it is important to provide as much information as possible. This can include copies of any relevant photographs and should include a description of how you are affected by the breach – your identity will not be disclosed during the course an investigation.

As explained in the Charter, it may not be proportionate or necessary to pursue minor breaches where there are no unacceptable impacts, and enquiries which involve listed buildings and conservation areas, short term lets, protected trees and serious harm to residential amenity will be a priority for the enforcement team.

We hope you find the Charter useful and informative. Further information on how to report a potential breach is available on the Council website and you can view enforcement enquiry records via the planning portal.

To visit our planning and building standards charters, please click here.

Short term lets

A short term let is a property which is let out to visitors on a commercial basis for short periods of time.  Often the whole property is let as holiday accommodation.  In other cases, the host will continue to live in the property and let out a room or rooms to visitors.

We have a best practice checklist which provides hosts with information about what consents are required and how visitors should be managed to protect the amenity of neighbours.  It is available to download from the Council’s website.

Where a whole property is let on a commercial basis to visitors, it is likely that planning permission is required. 

Our Planning Enforcement team is currently targeting properties believed to be operating on a commercial basis and where harm to residential amenity is being reported by neighbouring residents.

If you believe that a property is being used in this way but doesn’t have planning permission then you can report it using our online form.  This page also contains a link to the Council’s Planning Enforcement Charter. 

The Council is working with the Scottish Government to introduce new ways of regulating short term lets in Edinburgh.  More proposals will be announced over coming months.