The Scottish government is fast-tracking its measures to control Airbnb and reduce its deleterious effects on housing.
According to the Herald, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart is on a mission to make sure councils receive their new Airbnb-smacking powers before the Scottish Parliament is dissolved ahead of its next election.
The plan is to get the powers in place before next summer, when the short-term lets market is most active. This year, Airbnb 'hosts' were allowed to reopen (after the covid hiatus) from 15th July, leading to the usual reduction in housing available for actually living in. In Edinburgh, for instance, there are more Airbnbs than rental flats.
Stewart explains in a letter to Holyrood:
"We aim to lay the regulations giving local authorities powers to license short-term lets and introduce control areas in December so that they can be in force by spring 2021.
As part of preparation to do this, we will be engaging stakeholders on our detailed proposals in autumn.
The delay caused by Covid-19 necessitates that this will be a shorter period of engagement than originally planned but we will make sure that the process is effective in refining our proposals and finalising the statutory instruments."
While some people (including, presumably, renters) were pleased to hear that the measures will be sped up, others complained that it might make it even harder for the tourism industry in Scotland to recover from coronavirus. That said, there are still hotels, and those don't stop people finding homes. [Herald]