The number Airbnb listings for properties in Edinburgh has almost tripled in just two years, according to a worrying new study.
According to data supplied by Airbnb and analysed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the amount of Airbnb listings for properties in Edinburgh has increased from 6,411 in 2015 to 18,105 in 2017.
These new figures follow similarly large rises in London, where the number of listings increased from 60,587 in 2015 to 173,714 in 2017.
This prompted concern by the RLA that properties were being taken off the market for long-term tenancies, and instead were being advertised solely for holiday lets, therefore reducing the supply of properties for those needing somewhere secure to live. The cause is believed to lie in tax changes for buy-to-let landlords.
In the face of this concern, Airbnb has proposed banning owners from advertising properties for more than 90 nights per year as a holiday let. This is in line with regulations in London, which state that short-term holiday lets can be rented out for a maximum of 90 nights a year without planning permission.
Whilst the RLA welcomes this move by Airbnb as helping to address the shortage of long-term homes to let in Edinburgh, it is warning that Government policy is skewing the market and encouraging landlords to switch to short-term lets.
This includes the phased restriction to the basic rate of Income Tax for mortgage interest relief for landlords, which does not apply to properties used for short-term holiday lets.
The RLA argues that to halt this trend and encourage more homes to be available for longer-term renting, the Government needs to scrap its tax increases on private landlords.
Alan Ward, the Chairman of the RLA, says: “Whilst Airbnb plays a very important role in letting holiday accommodation in Edinburgh, this should not be at the expense of the supply of long-term homes to rent that are desperately needed.
“Changes around how long properties on Airbnb can be available are a step in the right direction, but the only long-term solution is for the UK Government to scrap its tax changes, which are making the housing crisis worse.”