Mon 9 Mar, 2020

Most whole property short-term lets advertised on sites like such as Airbnb and Booking.com may be unlawful, according to the early results from a survey by Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman.

An online tracking tool to chart the scale of short term lets in Scotland was launched In January by Andy Wightman, and he can reveal that of the 339 commercial short-term lets recorded so far, only one has planning consent.

If these results were replicated across Scotland, that would suggest 99.7% of short terms lets in Scotland could be unlawful.

There are 480 listings for Edinburgh on the website of public agency VisitScotland. This new data would suggest the vast majority of those could also be unlawful.

The Lothians MSP, who has led on the issue, said: “This early picture from my Homes First site reveals the depressing truth of how out of control this sector is. All but one of the properties identified so far have no planning consent to be a short-term let. Any property that should have planning consent but does not is unlawful.

“While proposed new licensing powers are welcome, they will not be of much use if owners are so willing to flout planning laws. The Scottish Government’s commitment to regulation is further undermined by the fact that Visit Scotland, which has a strategic partnership with AirBnB, is actively promoting holiday accommodation that is unlawful despite encouraging visitors to book only licensed and regulated accommodation.

“Scottish Ministers should ask their own tourism agency to stop advertising unlawful businesses.”

Get involved

More like this

Andy Wightman: more clarity needed on ‘essential’ work

Tue 24 Mar, 2020

There must be clearer guidance around what is and isn’t essential work during the coronavirus lockdown, Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman has said.

Andy Wightman raised the issue at a meeting of the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee in the Scottish Parliament, following reports that some businesses were attempting to operate as normal despite clear instructions from UK and Scottish Governments.

SNP rejection of Period Poverty Bill unacceptable

Wed 5 Feb, 2020

Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman has criticised SNP MSPs who rejected proposals to provide a statutory right to free sanitary products to women.

SNP MSPs on the Local Government and Communities Committee refused to back Monica Lennon’s Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, despite claiming to support its aims.

Commenting, Scottish Green communities spokesperson Andy Wightman, who sits on the committee, said:

Andy Wightman local taxation proposal backed by major thinktanks

Sun 2 Feb, 2020

Proposals from Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman to devolve powers over non-domestic rates to councils have been backed by two major think tanks in Scotland.

Commonweal and Reform Scotland both support Wightman’s amendments to the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, which will be voted on next week.