Concerns raised over ‘out of control’ Airbnb expansion

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Concerns have been raised about the “out of control” expansion of short-term rental properties as research suggested some areas have one Airbnb listing for every four properties.

Edinburgh’s Old Town has 29 active listings on the website per 100 properties, Skye had 25 for every 100 places, and high concentrations were also found in Woolacombe, Georgeham and Croyde in north Devon.

The accommodation marketplace questioned the figures from the Guardian and said listings may not always affect availability of local housing stock.

The newspaper said it cross-referenced 250,000 listings on Airbnb with Government figures on housing stock, finding there were 0.8 for every 100 homes.

“In rural areas and cities alike, the story is the same: young adults can’t afford to settle down in the areas they grew up in.”

Authorities in Scotland will be able to bring in licensing schemes for short-term rents from 2021, and local authorities will be able to designate new control areas for short-term lets, with those wanting to let out properties in this way first having to obtain planning permission.

Telling the Guardian that Airbnb is part of the problem, Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman said: “The growth in short-term lets is out of control in Edinburgh and of increasing concern across Scotland.”

Airbnb told the paper that its findings were based on “unreliable scraped data and flawed methodology”.

Patrick Robinson, director of public policy at Airbnb, said:  “This data is wrong and the methodology is flawed. It assumes that every listing on Airbnb – including hotel rooms, B+Bs and rooms in homes – is an entire home, which is untrue.

“Nearly half of entire home listings on Airbnb are rented for less than 30 nights a year and more than half of all hosts say they rely on the additional income to help afford their home.

“Airbnb is a good partner to cities and we were the first platform limit how often hosts in London can share their homes.

“We are also working with cities across the UK on proposals for a host registration system that we will proactively put to the government later this year to help ensure that rules work for everyone.”

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