(Original post by L i b)
I see you've used "looming" there. Thin end of the wedge, I'd imagine you're trying to suggest. Let the barber cut your hair and next thing he'll be cutting your head off.
There's only 9,000 properties that are AirBnB in Edinburgh. Over half of them are booked for under 30 days. Most of these are homes, let out during seasonal peaks.
Edinburgh has a particular problem with seasonal accommodation around the Festivals and New Year. There are several reasons for this: building hotels and apartments in the city is extremely difficult and even if you did meet capacity, many rooms would go empty the rest of the year. Just like 1950s B&Bs in Blackpool, it's advantageous to have people's homes turned over when there are seasonal visitors.
If you want to look at the reason rents are high in Edinburgh, firstly look at its popularity. It is a victim of its own success - and that is a good thing. Secondly, consider just how difficult generations of councils under different political stripes have made development in the city.
AirBnB are providing a good, low-cost model of accommodation. That is a positive thing, both for tourists and for Edinburgh. Let's not forget, of course, that many locals make use of these services too, directly or indirectly. Instead, it seems to be the motivation of some who see a good industry working without heavy regulation to stamp it out.
It is currently an unfair market vis a vis traditional hotels and B & B, it is further a somewhat unregulated market re fire safety and building control. If you want to operate an HMO there are, for good reason, fire safety requirements, a large number of AirBNB operations have limited/no such protections, whilst purpose built conversions like 28 North Bridge (offices to accomodation) etc have such safety requirements inherent in the building warrants/planning process for such conversion large numbers of others do not.
I have no real issue with occassional use letting for single family occupancy, the standards applied for any flat let outwith the HMO standard ought to be fine, but where the letting crosses more to a quasi hotel provision one has to ask what is going to happen the first time there is say a fire with loss of life.
From a sustainable living point of view the spread will cause issues, I expect to see some major expansion in the market in the city centre as retail continues to suffer (rumour has it that Frasers at the West End may well become serviced short stay apartments) and this trend will likely continue- great, lots more tourists, but eventually we will have a city centre dominated by cafes, bars etc surrounded by short let apartments.
It also seems that large numbers of flats on the Royal Mile/Canongate are moving to permanent tourist accomodation, if the planning process is to mean anything there does require further regulation of the sector, you now have both flats permanently going to tourist use plus all the student accomodation becoming available outwith term time for similar, there is an issue and it is growing.
I have nothing against development, I have been involved in the construction/planning for over 300 flats in Edinburgh over the years, but when this model keeps growing, as it has, there is an issue.
As I mentioned I think the £2 tax is the wrong approach, but what I would like to see is units that have been swapped from BTL or owner occupation to permanent tourist use having the planning process/building control processfar more involved with that change, and such change becomes beter regulated before someone gets killed.