ome features of the Metropolis of Edinburgh Council’s short-term let licensing coverage are “illegal”, a decide has dominated.
Landlords and a property advertising and marketing firm (the petitioners) took authorized motion in opposition to the council over its short-term let (SLT) licensing coverage and welcomed the ruling as a “victory for regulation and customary sense”.
The coverage, on account of come into power in October, comes amid concern in regards to the excessive variety of short-term lets comparable to Airbnb-type properties within the Scottish capital.
The 4 petitioners challenged what’s described as a “rebuttable presumption” in opposition to granting licences for secondary letting in tenements.
This is able to place the onus on the applicant to point out why their software ought to nonetheless be granted however the coverage.
In addition they challenged the absence of any regime for short-term licences for secondary letting, and a requirement in respect of all secondary lets that bedrooms, dwelling rooms and hallways have to be lined by an acceptable ground masking comparable to a carpet.
Following a judicial evaluate, Lord Braid discovered the foundations across the rebuttable presumption are “irrational, since they don’t assist the statutory function of the licensing regime. As such, they’re illegal”.
In relation to short-term licences, he discovered the coverage is “illegal” at widespread regulation insofar because it doesn’t present for the grant of short-term licences for secondary letting.
He additionally discovered the foundations on ground coverings illegal, stating: “To the extent that the coverage requires carpets for all secondary lets, together with floor ground flats and indifferent homes, I think about that it’s irrational and, to the extent that it might expose a licence holder to vital expense for no good motive, it’s oppressive and does transcend what is important to manage noise.”
These opposing the scheme donated greater than £300,000 by means of crowdfunding to assist fund the judicial evaluate on the Courtroom of Session in Edinburgh.
In a press release afterwards, the petitioners mentioned: “As the biggest crowdfunded case within the historical past of the UK, the petitioner workforce are deeply grateful to the various small, native companies that supported the marketing campaign financially in such unsure occasions.
“Now we have but to completely digest the element of the choice however we hope that this can give widespread trigger to each the Scottish Authorities and Metropolis of Edinburgh Council to hunt a recent method that goals to collaborate and work with native operators of self-catering lodging, recognising the various good issues it brings to the economic system and other people of Scotland.”
The impression of this won’t be confined to the capital as the choice has ramifications for licensing schemes throughout Scotland
The Affiliation of Scotland’s Self-Caterers welcomed the choice.
Its chief government Fiona Campbell mentioned: “The actual fact this was the most important Crowdfunder in Scottish authorized historical past demonstrates the energy of feeling that the council’s licensing plans had been an existential menace to the livelihoods of operators.
“The impression of this won’t be confined to the capital as the choice has ramifications for licensing schemes throughout Scotland.
“The Scottish Authorities want to return to the drafting board on short-term let regulation and interact constructively with business to supply a regulatory framework that works for all stakeholders.”
Metropolis of Edinburgh Council chief Cammy Day mentioned: “I’ve acquired right this moment’s judgment and am happy that we’ve been profitable in defending giant elements of our coverage.
“Whereas I’m clearly upset that the court docket didn’t discover in favour of our coverage on secondary lets, I make completely no apology for looking for to guard our residents.
“It’s no secret that we face distinctive housing pressures right here in Edinburgh, with a small however densely populated metropolis centre and quick rising inhabitants, and it’s essential for us to strike the correct steadiness between selling our customer economic system whereas taking care of the people who reside right here all yr spherical.
“Our residents have informed us that, in lots of instances, STLs are hollowing out their communities, decreasing housing provide and growing housing prices. We will’t overlook that many have endured years of disturbance and anti-social behaviour and we’ll proceed to work laborious to get this proper.
“The court docket acknowledged our intention to discover a answer to this and agreed that it was legit to make use of each planning and licensing coverage. We welcome the readability he’s offered and can now think about our subsequent steps in additional element.
“We stay dedicated to making sure the entire metropolis advantages from our thriving customer economic system, however it needs to be managed and it needs to be sustainable – and I proceed to imagine that honest and efficient STL controls can be an vital step in the correct course.”