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Big city review of Short Lets and Airbnb restrictions

A review of Edinburgh’s controversial short term lets licensing will take place this summer.

City councillors agreed to publicly consult on the city’s existing policy and conditions framework. This is in line with a decision taken in 2023 that the city’s policy would be reviewed after a year.

Regulatory Convener  Councillor Neil Ross says: “The opportunity for everyone to input into how the short term lets licensing scheme is working was a commitment we gave last year. We want to hear how the scheme has impacted the residents and businesses of Edinburgh.


“With Committee members’ approval today, we’ll now work towards launching a public consultation in the summer. I’m confident this will help us to better understand how businesses, residents and others are finding the policy and regulation of short-term lets in Edinburgh.”

Details of the public consultation will be publicised on the Council’s consultation hub over the summer and a report highlighting the results and further recommendations will be brought forward in the Autumn.

During the spring Airbnb released its own comments on the various restrictions imposed on short lets and their landlord hosts in Scotland.

In one part of the comments the short lets platform said: “Scotland’s accommodation sector is currently experiencing a disruption to supply that will limit accommodation options for guests, restricting flexible earning opportunities for families and hurting small businesses that rely on visitors to Scotland – especially outside of typical tourist hotspots. As of April 2024, Edinburgh Council has granted only 29 per cent full licences for short-term lets, raising concerns about the city’s ability to accommodate visitors – especially during the upcoming peak summer period and festivals.”

Amanda Cupples, Airbnb general manager of Northern Europe, adds: “Data shows that Scotland’s short-term rental rules are not translating into benefits for local families. Since the licensing scheme has been in place, hotel and rental prices have increased, tourism is expected to suffer, and families have lost a vital source of flexible income. Airbnb has worked with governments across the world to balance the benefits of short-term rentals with local housing concerns, and we hope to work with Scotland on policies that benefit everyone.”

As a direct result of the council short lets policy, hotel prices in the city have soared.

According to Lighthouse, Edinburgh hotel prices have risen by 9% in 2024, as part of an overall increase of 82% since 2019. 

Notably, this price surge was more pronounced during popular months, with an increase of 14% in April, 21% in May, and 12% in November. 

Airbnb says: “As prices continue to rise, the dream of exploring Scotland becomes out of reach for many, especially for families and groups who need multiple hotel rooms, while the local people and businesses that rely on travel tourism suffer from the consequences.”


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