AIRBNB is calling for a more suitable licensing system to be drawn up to regulate short-term lets – warning that Scottish Government plans being tailored for Edinburgh “risks holding back the rest of Scotland”.

The Scottish Government is pressing ahead with plans to require Airbnb-style short-term lets to obtain a license to operate to improve health and safety standards in the industry.

The primary purpose of introducing the licensing rules is to ensure that properties meet health and safety standards.

Separate plans to allow councils to set up “control areas” will allow authorities to “manage high concentrations” of short term lets and the ability to “restrict or prevent short-term lets in places or types of buildings where it is not appropriate”.

Airbnb, the largest provider of short-term lets in Scotland, has warned ministers that their plans “will lead to red tape that penalises everyday families that are already hosting responsibly and respectfully”.

The company has commissioned research from housing and tourism sectors on attitudes to the Scottish Government plans.

The study by Britain Thinks found that “both local authority and industry stakeholders outside Edinburgh express particular concerns that the proposed regulations are overly heavy-handed and will result in a fragmented, hard-to-navigate landscape for hosts”.

The research also found that outside of Edinburgh, industries are interested in pursuing a registration regime rather than licensing – stressing that “a lighter-touch system would be more conducive to ensuring the growth of the short-term lets sector at a fragile time”.

But industry stakeholders from Edinburgh “are insistent that the registration scheme would not be sufficient to address the local concerns that exist around housing and anti-social behaviour in the city”.

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The company is now appealing to the Scottish Government to reconsider its plans - warning the proposals have been tailored for the capital city and not the entire country. Airbnb also believes the current plans as they stand are also not suitable for the capital city.

Patrick Robinson, director of public policy at Airbnb, said, “We want to work with the Scottish Government and help develop home sharing rules that work for everyone but this report highlights the risk of locking ourselves into a future where regulation intended for Edinburgh risks holding back the rest of Scotland.

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“At a time when local economies are on their knees, we believe a better way is possible for both Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland. That’s why we’re calling on the Scottish Government to recognise these concerns and ensure a greater level of flexibility for the different needs of local authorities and types of hosts than what is currently proposed.”

He added: “These new measures will lead to red tape that penalises everyday families that are already hosting responsibly and respectfully.

“Our platform provides an economic lifeline for countless families across Scotland, and travel on Airbnb boosted the Scottish economy by an average of £2 million a day last year alone.”

The Scottish Association of Self Caterers (ASSC) has warned that one in three operators would become "unviable" under the Scottish Government plans.

In a poll of 1,000 members of the expert trade body, almost half of operators said they would leave the industry and a third of those said they would leave their proprieties empty or convert them to private use.

ASSC chief executive, Fiona Campbell, said: “Our members are rightly concerned by the potential impact of this ill-timed and ham-fisted licensing scheme.

“At this time of uncertainty and chaos, the Scottish Government should pause, reflect, and further consider the negative consequences of further impediments to our sector doing what we do best.

“The ASSC will continue to speak up for our members, and our industry, and we can only hope that the Scottish Government listens to us.”

The Scottish Government intends to roll out the licensing regime from April next year – and landlords who fail to obtain a licence could face a fine of up to £50,000.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart stressed that an initial consultation in 2019 “showed broad consensus for some form of regulation”.

He added: “Our proposals will allow local authorities and communities facing the most severe pressures to take action to manage those more effectively from next year.

“I believe our proposals for a licensing scheme and short-term let control areas are evidence-based and right for Scottish circumstances.”