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Short-Term Letting and the Housing Crisis

In recent times, the self-catering and short-term letting sector has been used as a convenient scapegoat for longstanding failures in housing policy. However, the challenges facing Scotland are far more multifaceted than the existence and growth of short-term and holiday lets alone.

There have been concerns raised over the impact of increasing tourism and the growth of short-term lets on the housing market, particularly on some communities within City of Edinburgh Council and Highland Council areas. In response, the Scottish Government has announced proposals to regulate short-term lets, including the introduction of a licensing regime.

In taking forward measures to regulate the sector, the ASSC argue that any policies must be based on accurate, reliable and empirical data given the importance of tourism to the Scottish economy. That has always guided our approach.

In February 2020, the ASSC launched a paper: Short-Term Letting and the Housing Crisis, which builds on our commitment to ensure that housing challenges are viewed in a balanced and holistic context. Our paper highlights the following:

  • The number of self-catering units registered on the Business Rates Roll compared to those on the Council Tax Register in two key areas, or indeed ‘hot spots’: Edinburgh and Skye.
  • Data from Airbnb, the industry leader in terms of accommodation platforms in Scotland, who have provided background on their number of listings.
  • Finally, information on the number of second and empty homes in Scotland.

Read more.

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