ALL Airbnb properties in Edinburgh not being used as a home are set to be required to obtain planning permission after city officials recommended “to designate the entire council area as a short-term let control area”.

Under current planning guidance for Edinburgh, there is no policy against granting permission for short-term lets, although appeal hearings have been generally rejected in properties with shared stairs.

A new planning vision being drawn up for Edinburgh is likely to require that permission for short-term lets is not seen as suitable in tenement flats with shared stairs.

In justifying their citywide proposals, council officials pointed to a move “to ensure that they are only allowed in appropriate locations and circumstances” – paving the way for whole property Airbnb lets to potentially be ruled out in tenement flats with shared stairs.

The overwhelming majority of respondents in a council consultation were in favour of the entire city being included in the control areas plans – with 85 per cent backing the strategy.

The Scottish Government has given councils the power to introduce a shot-term lets control area, although SNP ministers will be able to veto any plans from local authorities.

A property owner who is letting out a residential property which is not their principal home on a short-term let basis will have to apply for ‘change of use’ approval through the planning application process, under the plans by council officials.

The short-term let control area would not affect letting rooms or letting out the whole residential property where it is the owner’s principal home and the owner is absent.

A report to be considered by city councillors next week argued that the entire city should be designated as a control area “to manage the number and location of short-term lettings” which officials say will “help address availability of residential housing and impacts on the character of neighbourhoods”.

The document also says the proposal will “ensure that homes are used to best effect”.

Data collected in March 2019 found that there were almost 9,000 entire properties listed on Airbnb in Edinburgh – just one platform offering short-term lets. Council officials have stressed that the pandemic has impacted the number of Airbnb lets in the city but there were still more than 4,000 entire properties listed in Airbnb n the city as of October last year.

Edinburgh has suffered particular problems with a high concentration of Airbnb-style short-term lets contributing to a “citywide problem of reduced housing availability and issues of affordability”.

The officials added: “It estimated that there had been a loss of around 10% of private rented homes to short-term lets in recent years. The rapid growth in short term lets has had an impact on both supply and rent levels.

“Between 2014 and 2017 the city saw 2,700 more properties per year listed as available on Airbnb, while private rented sector stock fell 560 per annum.”

Research has also found that between 2014 to 2016, rents have soared by up to 27%, significantly above average, “in areas bordering a high concentration of short-term lets”.

Councillors will vote on the plans at a meeting on Wednesday.

The council’s SNP planning convener, Neil Gardiner, said: “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.”

The Scottish Greens have long campaigned for planning regulations to be used to curb the explosion of Airbnb-style short-term lets in the capital.

Chas Booth, Edinburgh Greens' planning spokesperson, said: "I warmly welcome the recommendation that the whole city should be set as a short-term let control area.

“Party flats can cause misery to residents, so this will be an important start towards controlling their impact. I hope Scottish Ministers will not delay in granting permission."

He added: “Of course, this should only be the first step in the journey to effectively regulating holiday lets in the city. We also need an effective system of licensing, and, crucially, we need the new City Plan 2030 to be approved, with controls on the loss of housing to other uses.

“Only then can we start to get to grips with a sector which has contributed to spiraling housing costs for too many residents."