Approval given to proceed with proposal to designate Edinburgh as Short-term Let Control Area

On Wednesday at Planning Committee, proposals were approved to designate the City of Edinburgh Council area as a short-term let (STL) control area.

The proposal follows a consultation with the public as well as industry bodies. 

The majority of respondents to the consultation were in favour of a control area, with 88% supporting the principle of it, and 85% supporting the entire City of Edinburgh Council area to be included.

A report of the consultation forms part of our Report to Planning Committee. 

The designation cannot come to effect without the approval of Scottish Government. A request will be submitted to the Scottish Government requesting that the new powers are implemented in the whole of the Edinburgh area.

If the government agree with this approach, and the new legislation is implemented in the city, it will require residential property owners wholly letting a property which is not their principle home as an STL in the local authority area, to apply for planning permission for a ‘change of use’ to a short-term let.

Short-term lets of private rooms or shared rooms where the property is the only or principal home of the host will not be affected by the control area requirement. This allows for house swaps at holidays and also for the host to let out the entire property when on holiday or working away, provided the property remains their only or principal home.

If approval is given by the Scottish Government, the designation will be publicised in advance of coming into effect. 

The introduction of powers to make a control area follows the Council calling for new legislation to tighten up the control of short-term lets to help manage high concentrations of secondary letting where it affects the availability of residential housing and character of a neighbourhood.

Also, it will help to restrict or prevent short-term lets in places or types of buildings where they are not appropriate as well as making sure homes are used to best effect.

Complementary to the control area legislation, the Scottish Parliament has approved legislation which will introduce a new licensing scheme requiring short-term lets to be licensed from July 2024.  It will address the issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise.

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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.