I’ll fight in court for the right to rent out my f lat through Airbnb

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Court­ney Bartlett

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

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