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Important Media Update: Short-Term Let Regulations & Tourism News – August 2023

Scotland’s Short-Term Let community remains in the spotlight, with extensive coverage across notable media outlets including BBC Radio and TV.

As the final deadline for STL legislation approaches, expect a surge in coverage.

The ASSC stands unquestionably for regulation, but not at the cost of fairness and reason. We’ve championed proportional and well-justified regulation since 2016. Sadly, the current framework falls short, with policies across Scotland now deemed unlawful. Our fight for better continues.

In our unwavering commitment to adapt to the changing landscape, we recognise the importance of shedding light on the diverse perspectives and challenges faced by short-term let businesses and operators.

We have prepared a list of the most recent coverage below.

Stay up-to-date on the latest developments by engaging with us on our dynamic social media platforms: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Join the conversation today.

31st August 2023

30th August 2023

“As the botched deposit return scheme and the government’s determination to destroy self-catering and other parts of the tourism sector each help demonstrate, the Scottish government’s appetite for regulatory interference is as colossal as its ability to deliver is emaciated.”

29th August 2023

28th August 2023

26th August 2023

24th August 2023

25th August 2023

24th August 2023

23rd August 2023

ASSC responds to Councillor Cammy Day:

“We’re delighted to acknowledge Cammy Day’s recognition of the necessity to extend the impending 1 October short-term let deadline on BBC Radio Scotland at lunchtime today.“This pivotal moment perfectly aligns with the resounding voice of Scotland’s Tourism Sector—an affirmation of what we’ve tirelessly advocated for.

“We’re unequivocally committed to joining forces with the City of Edinburgh Council to petition the Scottish Government for this vital review in a final bid to rescue and safeguard Scotland’s self-catering, bed and breakfast and wider tourism sector. This collective ambition highlights the potential for impactful change.”

  • Edinburgh Evening News Edinburgh Airbnb host claims crackdown on short-term lets in tenements ‘deeply unfair’
    An Airbnb host has hit out at the council over its crackdown on short-term lets which she said is ‘deeply unfair’ to families renting out properties in shared tenement buildings. Mum-of-two Mrs MacDonald fears they won’t get a licence because the Old Town property, which costs around £600 for two nights, is in a tenement building. The events manager said it’s ‘galling’ that they could lose the operation which they run like a ‘family business’, after they’ve had no any complaints from neighbours in the building, which is mainly occupied by student HMO flats. After nearly ten years of letting the flat she is worried that losing it would be devastating for her disabled husband, who manages lets with help from Cat and their two daughters, 13 and 11.
  • GVS Edinburgh’s Short-Term Rentals May Face 80% Decrease
    The new licensing scheme for short-term lets in Edinburgh is expected to have a significant impact on the availability of properties on platforms like Airbnb. Property owners have raised concerns about the potential harm to their businesses and the tourism industry. While the Scottish Government emphasizes the importance of safety and quality standards, the low number of license applications raises questions about compliance. It remains to be seen how the implementation of the licensing scheme will shape the future of short-term lets in Edinburgh.

22nd August 2023

  • The National Edinburgh council leader hits back at short-term lets claim
    EDINBURGH’s council leader has hit back at claims that a new licensing scheme would lead to an 80% drop in short-term lets in Scotland’s capital. Cammy Day – a Labour councillor for Forth – said they have “no intention” of reducing the number of short-term lets by 80%, adding: “Nor do we expect it to happen”. It comes after a report was prepared for the council’s policy and sustainability committee on how a transient visitor levy (or tourist tax) could operate in Edinburgh.
  • Edinburgh Live Edinburgh could see 80% reduction in short-term rental properties in new scheme
    Scotland’s capital could see an 80 per cent drop in properties for hire on Airbnb when a new licensing scheme for short-term lets comes into force in a few weeks, a report for the City of Edinburgh Council has warned. A paper, prepared for the authority’s policy and sustainability committee, warned of the impact of changes in the accommodation sector. It comes in the wake of concerns from the owners of short-term, rental properties, such as those on Airbnb, that the changes are an “act of self-sabotage on their businesses and livelihoods”.
  • The Herald Airbnb, short-term holiday lets ‘decimated’ by licensing
    Business leaders are braced for a greater impact from a controversial new tourism licensing regime than even they expected. Concerns over the short-term lets licensing scheme come as one local authority at the forefront of its implementation said along with pressures from a planned visitor levy, or tourist tax, 80% of self-catering tourism firms would face closure. The worrying statistic has been revealed by the City of Edinburgh Council papers that are being discussed today.
  • Daily Business Council says 80% airbnb cull is ‘double counting’
    Edinburgh could see a sharp reduction in airbnb accommodation as a result of new rule changes, according to a new document. An estimated 80% fall far outstrips forecasts by the sector itself which has warned that the changes to short terms lets will decimate the tourism industry. However, city council leader Cammy Day says the 80% figure takes account of potential for double counting in the listings and that the council needed to get an accurate assessment of the level of income that would result from the proposed visitor levy or tourist tax.
  • Edinburgh Inquirer Edinburgh crackdown expected to see 80% of Airbnbs close
    Growing alarm within tourism industry and the SNP over Capital’s radical approach to licensing of Short Term Lets
  • The Herald Anger as Edinburgh tourism plan will close self-caterers
    A new report has revealed that the Scottish capital is facing an 80% reduction in available self-catering tourism accommodation as a result of new rule changes. The City of Edinburgh said it expects eight out of ten self-catering firms to close in papers around a proposed visitor levy, or tourist tax, to be discussed today. The estimate far outstrips industry fears. A recent survey of around 1,270 short-let businesses by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers found around 60% of operators had yet to act on applying for a licence ahead of new legislation going live.
  • The Scotsman – [Opinion] Short term lets crackdown is biggest joke of the Fringe – John McLellan
    There is therefore no escaping the fact Edinburgh needs occasional accommodation if the festivals are to be sustained, and with Hogmanay being downgraded, the pressure is growing for hospitality businesses and retailers to do well in August to cover for the quieter months. Whether councillors or officers like it or not, and I saw an ex-senior planner out enjoying the Festival like the rest of us on Sunday night, STLs play their part in the annual miracle of absorbing so many people into a city the size of Edinburgh in a concentrated month. Wipe them out and the likes of Stuart McPherson will not just find it hard to afford the Edinburgh run, there will be nowhere to go at all.
  • The Sunday Post Edinburgh could see 80% reduction in short-term rental properties – report
    Scotland’s capital could see an 80% drop in properties for hire on Airbnb when a new licensing scheme for short-term lets comes into force in a few weeks, a report for the City of Edinburgh Council has warned. A paper, prepared for the authority’s policy and sustainability committee, warned of the impact of changes in the accommodation sector. It comes in the wake of concerns from the owners of short-term, rental properties, such as those on Airbnb, that the changes are an “act of self-sabotage on their businesses and livelihoods”.
  • 21st August 2023 The Times Clampdown on short-term lets ‘will hit economy’
    A scheme that critics say effectively bans short-term lets in Scotland brings “clear and definitive risks to the economy”, claims the former MSP who wrote the SNP’s economic prospectus for independence. Andrew Wilson, the former nationalist politician who is providing strategic advice to the Santander bank, hit out at the licensing plan brought in by the Scottish government to clamp down on second properties.
  • Edinburgh Live Edinburgh resident’s plan to turn garden office into holiday let ‘to be rejected’
    An application to convert a home office into a short-term let is due to be refused by Edinburgh City Council with the authority deeming it would have an ‘unacceptable’ impact on neighbours.
  • Gethin Chamberlain Substack – [Opinion] Nightmare on Princes Street
    Visitors to Edinburgh face a scramble for somewhere to stay as shocking new official figures show more than 4,500 properties are expected to close in a government crackdown on small tourism businesses.

20th August 2023

  • Midlothian View – [Opinion] Cool heads are needed to tackle the Short Term Lets crisis
    By holding out an olive branch to STL owners now, the City of Edinburgh Council can prevent a visitor accommodation crisis in the city in 2024. With plans to introduce a Visitor Levy on the way too, it’s time to do right by the small businesses that contribute so much to our visitor economy.

19th August 2023

  • The Herald Anger over Humza Yousaf ‘disdain’ for Scottish tourism There is strong support for tighter regulation around Airbnb-style short-term lets as their growth continues, not least from within the sector. However, it is claimed the Scottish Government’s legislative challenge on unregulated holiday homes is having a bottom trawling effect on existing businesses, and pushing some to quit the industry rather than be swept up in a new wave of bureaucratic expense.

18th August 2023

  • Scottish Business News ASSC: First Minister Humza Yousaf ignoring plight of Scottish Self-Catering Industry THE ASSOCIATION of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) has urged the First Minister Humza Yousaf to make good on his promise to meet with the self-catering industry before the sector is decimated by his own government’s short-term let regulations. The self-catering industry contributes around £1bn to the Scottish economy, and has been a longstanding presence in many Scottish communities, yet it has been treated as an afterthought with costly, poorly-designed and flawed legislation.
  • Edinburgh Evening NewsIs Edinburgh’s festival set to be pushed to the Fringes? – Miles Briggs The SNP’s anti-business marriage to the Greens is no longer the stuff of nightmares, but of reality. And with Ian Blackford’s announcement that this marriage from hell will last until 2026, the future of Edinburgh business and tourism looks bleak. Government Ministers must heed the advice of small businesses and the Scottish Conservatives and suspend the implementation of this disastrous legislation before any further harm is done and we see Edinburgh’s festival move to the fringe of its sector.
  • The Northern Times – [Opinion] DAVID RICHARDSON: Impact of short-term lets changes hangs in the balance across the Highlands For our part, FSB Scotland has written to the Housing Minister, Paul McLennan MSP, asking for his support in encouraging local authorities to take a pragmatic and proportionate approach to implementation and to assist with compliance in early stages. And there’s more that Highland Council can do. First, it should widely advertise the imminent deadline; second, provide an emergency helpline that Highland operators and others overwhelmed by STL can call; and third, come up with an economic contingency plan should sizeable numbers miss the deadline or opt out.

 17th August 2023

  • Edinburgh Live East Lothian ‘secret cabin’ applies for holiday let approval after years of renting out The owner of a garden summer house which has been operating as a holiday let for a number of years has applied for planning permission to carry on renting it out. Lorna Dale, who operates The Secret Cabin, which lies in the grounds of her Seacliff Cottages property, has applied for a retrospective change of use of the outbuilding from a garden room to holiday accommodation. The move comes after changes to legislation meant all short term holiday rentals in East Lothian require planning permission from the council.

16th August 2023

  • Inews – [Opinion]‘I slept in a shed with a chamber pot’: Edinburgh Fringe’s accommodation crisisCompetition for accommodation is likely to be even tougher come 2024. New restrictions being brought in from October will require hosts of short-term lets in Scotland to carry a licence, or risk a fine of up to £2,500. The system is broken, and like the smell of a used bedpan left festering through the night, if it’s left alone, it will only get worse.
  • Ross-shire Journal Highland Council warned short-term lets licensing may be ‘legally unsound
    Highland Council has been warned a controversial licensing scheme for short-term lets may be “legally unsound”. This follows a successful court challenge to a similar scheme in Edinburgh. From October 1, anyone who wishes to rent their property out as a short-term let in the Highlands must have applied to the council for a licence to continue operating.

15th August 2023

  • Deadline Scots left fuming at “parasite” landlords amid holiday home boom during Edinburgh Fringe Hope Conway-Gebbie had been scouring holiday rental website Airbnb on Sunday, when she spotted listings from landlords renting out multiple holiday homes. The 22-year-old was in disbelief after spotting one host even renting out six separate homes for the Fringe. Taking to social media to share her outrage, Hope concluded that short-term letting (STL) should be illegal, reasoning that they were damaging to residents looking for homes during the housing shortage.

 14th August 2023

  • The Telegraph Nicola Sturgeon’s war on holiday lets sends Edinburgh accommodation prices to record high The cost of accommodation for the Edinburgh festival has hit the highest level on record, after Nicola Sturgeon’s crackdown on holiday lets. The price of staying in an Airbnb in Edinburgh soared to £196 a night in July, up 7pc compared with last year, according to analyst AirDNA. This was the highest rate since records began in 2018, when an Airbnb cost £138 a night. Meanwhile, the number of properties listed has dropped to a record low after a licensing scheme and planning restrictions were introduced in Edinburgh. Airbnb listings in the city have slumped from 8,307 in 2018 to 7,993 properties today.
  • Scottish Daily Express SNP crackdown on holiday lets blamed for record high Edinburgh Fringe accommodation costs
    The SNP have been blamed for the sky-rocketing cost of accommodation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which hit record levels this year. Under Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Government launched a crackdown on holiday lets meaning providers need to splash out on new licenses. This has led to thousands of business owners potentially pulling out of providing short-term properties due to these increased costs. Now, it has been revealed that the cost of staying in the capital during the festival is at its highest ever level.

 13th August 2023

  • The Scotsman ‘Difficult’ tourist season as Scots stay home this summer due to cost of living crisis
    Scots are dropping summer day trips and short breaks across the country with the losses sharply felt in most areas as the lucrative domestic market falls away. Areas which rely heavily on the home traveller are recording significant decreases in visitor numbers – with Perth and Perthshire noting a 75 per cent decrease at attractions in May when compared to the same month in 2019, the last ‘normal’ year before the impact of the pandemic was felt, and a 19 per cent drop in June. Visitors were down 44% on the year, when looking at 2019.

 12th August 2023

  • The Independent – [Opinion] How Scotland’s war on Airbnb is threatening tourism firms
    New short-term let legislation has led to warnings of thousands of job losses and a massive hit to the Scottish economy. Businesses operating away from the tourism hotspots complain they are collateral damage in a dispute that has little to do with them. Many small tourism operators think the law has been framed to put them out of business, placing impossible hurdles in their way, including retrospective planning permission that councils have no intention of granting.

10th August 2023

  • The Times Holiday lets at risk with most owners yet to apply for licence
    Thousands of self-catering properties in Scotland are weeks away from being taken off the market as most owners have yet to apply for new licences. Some 61 per cent have still not started the process even though they must have submitted paperwork by October 1 to continue operating, a survey suggests. The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) said it had received responses from more than 1,270 businesses.

9th August 2023

  • The Times Fringe group takes the nuclear option over Edinburgh’s Airbnbs
    The difficulty of finding a decently priced night’s accommodation in Edinburgh over the month of August has sometimes led performers to take extreme measures. But perhaps none more so than a group of comedians and drag artists from the US who are staying in a disused nuclear bunker during their time at the festival. Alphabet Soup said they had opted to set up camp at Barnton Bunker on the edge of the city after being quoted £35,000 on Airbnb for a month’s stay.

8th August 2023

  • Scottish Housing News Edinburgh decides against appeal of ‘unlawful’ short-term lets licensing policy ruling
    After reviewing the decision, the City of Edinburgh Council has decided not to appeal the judgement and has updated its STL Licensing Policy to reflect the terms of the court’s decision.
  • Edinburgh Inquirer ‘Tarred with an unfair brush and demonised’
    As the council orders a review of its “quagmire” Short Term Lets policies, the debate is becoming entrenched and at times bitter. Louise Dickins is close to tears. “We’ve all been tarred with an unfair brush, and demonised” she says. “It is pretty hard for me to get my head around it.” She has run a short term let business in Edinburgh for 25 years. She is just about as far removed from the media caricature “Airbnb” absentee landlord – leaving drunken stag parties to run amok and destroy quality of life for local communities – as it’s possible to imagine.
  • Edinburgh Evening News Edinburgh housing: Tenants welcome passing of Short Term Lets guidance but say it must go further
    Tenants have welcomed The City of Edinburgh Council passing a licensing scheme on Short Term Lets (STL) that they say will lead to a reduction of the number of short-term lets in the city. Tenants’ union Living Rent say that STL’s have exploded across Edinburgh in the last decade pushing residents out of the city due to the lack of flats available to rent. They describe the licensing as a “step in the right direction” for STL controls in Edinburgh and hope that they will go some way in ensuring that prospective residents are able to find a place to live. However, they say that the council still has a lot to answer for on how it will deal with enforcing the scheme.

 5th August 2023

  • The Sun SWIFT BUCK Eye-watering accommodation costs for Taylor Swift’s Scots gigs revealed
    Some properties are now being advertised for five times the price of other weekend stays in June. One fan was shocked to be told by a landlord that accommodation they had booked for £150 would increase to £406 due to “inflation”. We can reveal that one property, which has a “glimpse” of Edinburgh Castle, is going for £2,500 a night during Taylor’s gigs — ramped up from a regular weekend rate of £533.

 4th August 2023

  • BBC Edinburgh Council amends ‘unlawful’ short-term lets plan
    Edinburgh Council has amended a licencing scheme for Airbnb-style properties after parts of the policy were ruled to be unlawful. Provisions that would have made it more difficult for entire homes to be used as holiday lets have been scrapped following a court ruling in June. The plan is designed to help tackle the capital’s affordable housing shortage. But opponents said “fundamental issues” remained and accused the council of attempting to “shut down the sector”.

1st August 2023






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