235. The final question in the consultation asked,
Q23: Do you have any other comments on short-term lets not covered in your answers to the above?
236. Some respondents welcomed the opportunity to respond to this consultation; and some provided background on their organisation or lifestyle to set the context for their responses. A number of respondents took the opportunity to provide details of their own experiences, either as a host or as a resident with experience of short-term lets in their tenement or in their local community.
237. Overall, most of the comments reiterated issues and points that had been made at earlier questions in the consultation. Many focused on the positive and negative impacts of short-term lets; and a number of these focused specifically on Edinburgh. Once again, there were comments that Edinburgh is in a unique situation, and that while short-term lets may impact negatively on Edinburgh, they have positive impacts elsewhere across Scotland and bring necessary income to more rural and remote areas.
238. One organisation pointed out the importance of ensuring that any regulation which is introduced needs to take account of the right of people with disabilities under Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to reside in the accommodation of their choice and to have the necessary services provided to them.
239. There was a degree of support to pilot any registration or licensing regime that is introduced, with some additional suggestions for a phased approach based on the extent and location of any issues in relation to short-term lets. This would also allow for transitional arrangements to give owners time to ensure they comply with any registration and standards requirements.
240. Additional points made at some of the consultation events included:
- University accommodation has lobbied to be excluded from the private rented sector, so that it can offer long-term lets to students for most of the year but then use accommodation during the summer as short-term lets to tourists. This might be one way of rectifying the problems identified by a number of respondents over changing a property from being in the private rented sector to being a short-term let.
- There is a need for home sharing listings that are explicitly LGBT-friendly where people feel safe and know they will not be judged. These can also provide a personal and curated experience of the city that will help visitors to feel safe and comfortable. It was noted that often single travellers in these communities feel especially vulnerable even in commercial settings e.g. city centre. There was also reference to EBAB, a website originating in Germany for LGBT travellers; and that there is now an LGBT tool on Airbnb.