Wightman urges residents to check legality of holiday home key boxes

Scottish Greens housing spokesperson Andy Wightman MSP, whose Homes First campaign aims to better regulate the short-term letting industry, today (29 Jan) urged residents in affected areas to check the legality of key boxes that are spreading like wildfire.

In the last year the number of entire houses or flats being let out for short-term rent in Edinburgh has rocketed from 5,474 to 7,366

Lothian MSP Andy Wightman said:

"Walking around Edinburgh, it is hard now not to notice small key safe deposit boxes appearing on the front of tenements. Drilled into doorways or stonework entrances, the increase in the number of these unsightly additions simply reflects the number of residential flats that have been converted into short-term let businesses. For residents this contributes to a feeling of insecurity as strangers have full access to communal areas at all times of day and night.

"In response to a growing number of queries about the status of these boxes, I have published a paper exploring the law around key safe deposit boxes. In particular, what rights residents have when challenging the installation of these by short-term let operators. Whether such boxes are legally affixed to walls, for example, will depend on who owns the external wall.

"If you attach a box to a wall that you do not have ownership of then this can be interpreted as intrusion into someone else’s property. Even if you have common ownership then you must seek consent from all of the owners in the block first.

"The rise of short-term letting has exacerbated the visibility of these boxes in Edinburgh. I would urge residents to check whether they're legal."