Council must act to alleviate rising rent in the capital
Dozens of activists mounted a protest in Edinburgh this morning amid concerns the Airbnb boom is causing severe housing problems in the city.
The protest, called by Living Rent and was supported by Andy Wightman MSP, picketed the City Chambers to highlight concerns about the scarcity of housing linked to Airbnb.
Protesters are calling on the council to enforce tough restrictions on holiday lets.
Speaking ahead of the protest Wightman said: “The availability and affordability of homes in Edinburgh is worsening by the month & short-term lets are exacerbating this. I will be at the demonstration on Monday to stand in solidarity with those affected by a failing housing system in the City.”
Emma Saunders Chair of Living Rent said: “Tenants were not informed about this meeting, and are not represented, so we were forced to have a protest to ensure our views are considered.
“We are calling on the council to ignore pleas from Airbnb that they can ‘self regulate’, and we are instead demanding tough legislation to ensure this upward pressure on rents is stopped.
“The huge increase in Airbnb accommodation is leading to higher rents and a scarcity of housing for people who live and work in Edinburgh.”
Living Rent proposes that the council implements a 30 day per year restriction on renting out entire properties, for the purposes of Airbnb-style holiday lets, and the curtailing of third-party management schemes.
However, Emma Sands, who lets out four properties in the city via Airbnb, said the protests was “nonsense.”
She added: “Basically this is calling for the free market to be curtailed. Airbnb does not create homelessness or force prices up. It is because there are not enough affordable social rented premises on the market. That’s the council and the government’s concerns. You can’t blame Airbnb for that. It’s ludicrous.”
Both Airbnb and Edinburgh council have been contacted for comment.