I’ll fight in court for the right to rent out my f lat through Airbnb
A WOMAN banned from running an Airbnb has launched a legal challenge which could have major consequences for short-term landlords.
Nicola Golden, 49, was ordered to stop renting out her Edinburgh home through Airbnb after a neighbour complained about the noise.
Council chiefs quickly served her with an enforcement notice preventing her from using her flat in Newhaven for the short-term lets.
Mrs Golden claims she only uses the Airbnb online marketplace to fill her empty flat at certain times and charges friends, family and ‘guests’ to stay.
But neighbours believe it is only used to make money from tourists and is in breach of planning laws – which she strenuously denies.
The row comes as communities across the capital have raised concerns about the growing number of Airbnbs popping up in residential streets.
Residents say the large turnover of tourists is creating ‘party flats’ across the city which disturb locals and price people out of the property market.
The problem has become so bad that City of Edinburgh Council leaders are now lobbying the Scottish parliament to allow them to bring in a new licensing regime.
Mrs Golden said she will fight the ban and has launched an appeal at the Court of Session with support from the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), a trade body that represents short-term landlords.
She said: ‘I’ve lived, studied and worked in Edinburgh for many years – it’s the city that I call home.
‘If I was running a party flat or a 24/7 hotel that paid no attention to health and safety or noise then maybe my property would need to be reviewed – but the evidence clearly shows that I am not.’ Fiona Campbell, ASSC chief executive, who has agreed to provide £112,000 for the appeal, said: ‘While we are disappointed that it has come to this, the ASSC stands firmly behind Nicola in her fight against what appears to be an inconsiderate and poorly made bureaucratic decision.’ Scotland has more than 22,000 properties available on Airbnb – with 41 per cent of those in Edinburgh.
A recent report showed bookings from the site in Edinburgh have soared by 70 per cent to more than 1.1million stays, with more than 120,000 tourists expected to have used Airbnb for the festival alone. In March, heritage charity the Cockburn Association published a report on the ‘Airbnb phenomenon’.
Association director Terry Levinthal said last night: ‘The sheer number of Airbnb lets in Edinburgh has started to become damaging to those close to the town centre.
‘We are seeing a displacement of communities as entire tenements become filled with tourists celebrating as you wake for work on a Tuesday morning.’
A council spokesman said: ‘As this case is currently in the Court of Session, we feel that it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.’
A spokesman for Airbnb said: ‘Home sharing is an economic lifeline for families across Edinburgh.’
‘Sheer number has become damaging’
Challenge: Nicola Golden