THE Scottish Greens have demanded regulations to deal with “out of control” short-term lets after the number of homes in Scotland listed on Airbnb trebled in three years.

Branding the Scottish Government “timid”, the party’s parliamentary co-leader Alison Johnstone criticised a lack of action to control rising short-term lets “in the midst of a housing crisis”.

The Government has launched a consultation and will consider regulations to address concerns about the rise in Airbnb listings, but Johnstone said the problem is making home-ownership “an ever more distant prospect for tens of thousands of people”.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Johnstone accused the SNP of working with the Conservatives to block controls on short-term lets “to give us a Tory-style Planning Bill, as the Conservative spokesperson so gleefully described it”.

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She added: “Here in Edinburgh short-term lets are out of control. On Skye, one-fifth of all homes is a short-term let, and this is in the midst of a housing crisis.

“The public are demanding action.”

Nicola Sturgeon said the Government will set out proposals “pretty soon” following the consultation and dismissed the “mischaracterisation” of the SNP’s actions on the Planning Bill. She added that Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman had been “trying to impose a solution that may well be right for Edinburgh on all parts of the country”.

The First Minister continued: “We do not see exactly the same pressures in all parts of the country. So we took a view that instead of imposing an inappropriate, one-size-fits-all policy, what it was better to do was to allow local authorities to decide whether short-term let control areas are required in their part of the country.”

Scotland’s Housing Minister Kevin Stewart launched the consultation about short-term lets on Monday and said the Government will consider how to manage the impact in “tourist hot spots” such as Edinburgh and Skye.

Research published by the Scottish Government found a three-fold increase in Airbnb listings in Scotland between April 2016 and May 2019 – from just under 10,500 to approximately 32,000.