SCOTLAND’S capital could soon have city-wide powers to control short-term lets, under new proposals by local officials.

City of Edinburgh Council has asked councillors to approve its plans to designate the city a short-term let (STL) control area.

Scotland’s second-largest council will put the case to local politicians at a planning committee on February 23 following consultation with industry bodies and the public.

If the committee agrees it means the local authority will submit a request to the Scottish Government to ask that the new powers be implemented in the whole of the Edinburgh area.

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If the Government agrees with this approach, and the new legislation is implemented in the city, it would require residential property owners wholly letting a property that is not their principal home as an STL in the area, to apply for a “change of use” to an STL.

The vast majority of respondents in the consultation were in favour of this approach, with (88%) supporting the principle of the designation of an STL control area and for the entire city to be included (85%).

Around a third of STLs in Scotland are in Edinburgh alone.

Currently, as well as planning applications made for STLs, to establish whether planning permission is required for properties where this is disputed, the council’s enforcement team looks at each case individually, which it says is a very lengthy and time-consuming process.

The introduction of powers to make a control area follows the local authority calling for new legislation to tighten up the control of STLs to help manage high concentrations of secondary letting where it affects the availability of residential housing or the “character” of a neighbourhood.

The National:

Edinburgh has one third of all short-term lets in Scotland

It will also help to restrict and prevent STLs in places or types of buildings where they are not deemed appropriate.

Planning convener Councillor Neil Gardiner said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took part in our consultation.

"We worked hard calling for new legislation to help us have greater controls over STLs as we know they are an issue for many of our residents across the city. So it was great to see so many people from all different neighbourhoods taking part.

“This report highlights the growing pressures of the STL commercial market, which requires a cross-city approach to regulations. With high concentrations in central areas, there are commercial STLs in every council ward in this city.

“In some areas, STLs have hollowed out communities, put more pressure on the housing market causing prices to rise, and created other issues such as anti-social behaviour and noise.”

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Planning vice-convener Councillor Maureen Child said: “I’m delighted we’ve now got to a stage of this legislation potentially being implemented.

"If approved by committee and government, these new powers for Edinburgh will greatly complement the new licensing legislation just announced, which we also called for, as you’ll need evidence you have the right planning consent in place for your property as part of the criteria when obtaining a licence.”

The council said that for the most part, renting out a room in your house or letting your property whilst on holiday would still be allowed if Edinburgh became an STL control area.

The Scottish Parliament has approved legislation which will introduce a new licensing scheme which will come into effect later this year, addressing issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise.

The council says these issues have all had a detrimental effect on communities as the number of STLs has greatly increased across the city in recent years.