THE leader of City of Edinburgh Council has appeared to back an extension of the deadline for short-term let operators to apply for a licence - before swiftly backtracking on the claim. 

Cammy Day, the Labour leader of the council, suggested on Wednesday that he supported lobbying efforts to further extend the deadline.

The scheme, which requires short-term let operators across Scotland to apply for a licence, is due to come into place on October 1 after already being pushed back from its initial March 2023 launch date.

So far, the council has received just 245 applications out of an estimated 12,000 short-term let properties in the city with many landlords claiming the scheme will decimate their businesses. 

Day told BBC Radio Scotland: “There’s a low turnout so far. I understand the sector will put the applications in towards the end of September for that date in October.

READ MORE: PM 'inadvertently' failed to declare wife's shares in childcare firm

“But if they want to join us in the lobby to ask for an extension to that time then we would be more than happy to have that discussion”.

Many councillors appeared shocked at the comments and pressed Day to clarify whether he still supported the deadline. 

On Thursday, Day then claimed that the council’s position on adhering to the October 1 deadline remains unchanged.

He said on Twitter/X: “From speaking to industry, I know that there’s nervousness around the 1 October deadline, and they’re lobbying the Minister for this to be extended further, but this is a date set in legislation and we can’t change it.

“In its meeting of 6 February, our Regulatory Committee was clear that the Scottish Government shouldn’t delay the implementation of STL licences any further and that remains the Council’s position.”

Campaign group Living Rent Edinburgh said that the deadline shouldn’t be delayed just because landlords have failed to apply for a licence.

READ MORE: Gordon Brown calls Social Security Scotland a 'waste of money'

“It's beyond belief that the council's entertaining the idea.

“Landlords have had long enough to apply. It's not tenants fault that they have been complacent and ignored the deadline, but tenants will suffer if it is extended.

“Edinburgh is in a housing crisis. There are 27 renters for every single rental. Every single holiday let could be a home for a long term resident.

"STL (short term-let) landlords love to say that without them tourism would die, but where are the people who work in tourism supposed to live?”

It comes after a report from Edinburgh Council found that the city could potentially see an 80% drop in the number of short-term lets available when the rules come into force.

However, Day emphasised that the figures used in the report did not account for the double-counting of properties registered on numerous platforms.