October 2022 sees the start of measures being taken by Edinburgh Council to significantly reduce the number of holiday lets in Edinburgh.

In July this year, the Scottish Government signed off on plans put forward by the City of Edinburgh Council to establish a short-term let control designation covering the entire Council area.  This designated control area came into effect on 5th September 2022, and will spark change for many existing and future landlords of short-term let properties.

This was on the back of the new licensing scheme for short-term let properties which was announced in 2021 and then introduced earlier this year, and Edinburgh Council are currently working to establish their scheme.  The consultation on this closed on 5th September 2022 so we anticipate further details to be released in the coming weeks, with the local authority deadline of 1st October looming.  

The additional requirements on planning permission within Edinburgh signals the beginning of the Council taking action to reduce the number of short term rental properties across the city, an objective they have been clear and consistent about over the last few years.


What’s changing in October?

From the 1st October 2022, properties being rented as short-term lets for the first time will require a license to be granted before welcoming any guests, and planning permission will be required for any properties which are not the principal home of the owner.  


What about existing holiday-lets?

Existing hosts of short-term rentals will have until 1st April 2023 to apply for a license, and the final deadline for having a license granted will be 1st July 2024. Existing owners can continue to operate whilst their license and planning permission applications are being reviewed but Edinburgh Council has already made it clear that they will use the licensing scheme to significantly reduce the number of holiday-lets in the city so it’s clear that many existing lets will not be granted licenses to continue. 

There will be some license guarantees for properties that have been used consistently as a short-term let for over 10 years providing they meet the other requirements of licensing, although the details of how the 10 year exemption rule will work in practice is not yet clear. 

As part of the decision-making process, the Council will notify property owners and occupiers of “neighbouring land” (everything within 20 metres of the property) about an application, allowing public comments and objections to be lodged within 21 days of notification.

What does this mean for the future of short-term rentals in Edinburgh?

The City of Edinburgh Council’s clear objective to reduce the number of short term rentals throughout the city creates a great deal of uncertainty surrounding application outcomes for owners of short term rental properties.  We’re expecting to see tight criteria along with zero  tolerance for those operating without a license. It’s clear to see that the number of active holiday lets in Edinburgh will be significantly reduced over the next 1-3 years.

This, coupled with the stringent licensing requirements on short-term rental owners, will close the gap on short-term vs long-term rental requirements. With the additional factor of rising pressure on operating costs, the appeal of short-term renting is going to reduce.  Many owners will turn to the more stable and predictable long-term rental market as a dependable source of income on their investment property. 

If you are unsure about the future of your short-term rental property and would like to discuss your options, our expert team would be delighted to help.