Fri 22 Dec, 2017

In this blog, David Marshall, Operations Director at Warners LLP, draws on his business experience to discuss the impact that short term lets have on the property market.

In less than ten years, short term letting has exploded in popularity. On one online platform there are in excess of 3 million properties spanning almost 200 countries on its books, and many of us will no doubt have experience of staying in a ‘short term let’ while travelling or on holiday.

From an investor’s point of view, short term lets can be an incredibly attractive option. The monthly rent that can be achieved by renting out a property for a few days at a time can often be two or three times as high as letting the property to a long term tenant.

Given the superior rental yields available it’s no surprise that there has been a rise in demand from investors and in cities like Edinburgh, this has led to a huge increase in the number of properties being used as short term lets. At the time of writing there are over 5,000 whole properties available for short term let in the capital.

Unfortunately, the rising numbers of short term lets is not great news for everyone. First-time buyers face even greater competition from investors who typically have deeper pockets, pushing up prices and making it harder for people to get onto the property ladder. In some areas of Edinburgh, it is not uncommon to see investors making offers well in excess of the Home Report valuation, largely because of the superior rents they expect to recoup via short term letting.

An excessive amount of short term lets in an area can also cause issues for local residents. Noise complaints and anti-social behaviour issues can be more prevalent with short term lets, and the loss of community that results can cause substantial anxiety and stress for local residents.

The point here is not that short term lets are inherently bad, but that it is a sector that is almost entirely unregulated both in terms of standards and volumes. Existing legislation is unable to address the various problems associated with short term lets and, with the rate at which short term lets are rising in popularity, it is important that solutions are sought sooner rather than later.

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Harvie presses Sturgeon to give local councils powers to control short-term lets

Thu 18 Jan, 2018

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, used today's First Minister's Questions to press Nicola Sturgeon to give local councils powers to control the rapid growth of short-term lets which is adding to pressures on Scotland's housing stock.

Recent research for Andy Wightman's Homes First campaign showed that many landlords are operating lucrative short term letting businesses in Edinburgh alone, including one host with 80 listings.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

Homes First report reveals 1 short-term let host has 80 properties for let in Edinburgh

Fri 29 Dec, 2017

More than 30 landlords are operating lucrative short term letting businesses in Scotland’s capital, a new report reveals, adding to the pressure on Edinburgh’s housing stock. 

The report by a University of Sheffield academic, in partnership with Green MSP Andy Wightman, shows how, as of September 2017, one host on a leading short term letting site had 80 listings in Edinburgh, 28 hosts had ten or more listings and seven hosts had more than 20.

New academic paper: Short term lets and title conditions

Andy Wightman MSP Wed 13 Dec, 2017

Short term lets are quickly gaining the attention of academics who are curious about the worldwide impacts of this form of letting. Some researchers, for example, have considered aspects of delivering new innovations to tourist accommodation, while others have examined the role of planning and policymaking.

Until now there has been a lack of research on short term lets relating to Scots law .