March 2017 seen Glasgow City Council introduce new regulations surrounding short-term rentals, such as Airbnb. However, it was not until December 2018 and most recently June 2019 that Airbnb landlords felt the full brunt of these rules. The regulations mean that a person is not allowed to rent out a flat as part of a short-term rental if that flat contains a close with a communal entrance, with very few exceptions to this rule. Understandably, this could pose a large problem for the future of short term rental services in Glasgow. As mentioned in 2019, a Glasgow based gentleman, lost his case against the Scottish Government under the new regulations, and has been formally banned from running an Airbnb from his property in Glasgow’s West End district. This marks a precedent with an enforcement notice issued by the council on this matter.

THE REGULATIONS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

So what does all of this mean for you as an owner/landlord?

  • Owner/landlord will not get permission for your flat to be let through Airbnb “if it is within a close with a communal entrance,” (as per a statement from a Glasgow City Council spokesperson)
  • Owner/landlord could get permission if an individual room of a flat is let out, provided that you are also staying in the residence at the same time.
  • Any accommodation arrangement you make which is against the regulations could be investigated by the council, if a complaint is raised. 
  • The enforcement system is entirely complaints-led presently.

WHY ARE THE REGULATIONS IN FORCE?

The Scottish Government released a statement via a spokesperson explaining the reasoning behind the regulations and the legal case. They said that other residents in a building would find it difficult to know who is living in a particular flat at a particular time. Even more important is that residents could find complete strangers in private areas of the block or development, which may be a problem for some. This would mean that you would be changing the intended use of the flat, and breaching the regulations as a result. The claimant in the recent case argued that renting his flat through Airbnb did not necessarily mean a “change of use” from other similar flats, but the Scottish Government did not see it this way.

Other residents are not so enamoured with the click-and-go rental boom. Some have vocally supported the Scottish Government’s decision, and have lamented the rise of Airbnb in Scotland’s most populous city. Now that the seal has been broken, could this mean a rise in complaints against Airbnb rental properties?

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR GLASGOW’S AIRBNB RENTERS?

While Glasgow became Scotland’s first city to introduce stricter regulations in this sector, Edinburgh City Council has since called for further restrictions on the practice. These may include levying tourists £ per night fee, or restricting the number of days per year that a property can be let through Airbnb. Under the Glasgow regulations, those who fail to cease trading after a successful complaints investigation could face a fine of £2,000. If these practices turn out successfully for the council, we could soon see Scotland’s other major cities follow suit. The question remains as to how these regulations will affect Glasgow’s thriving tourist scene in the short term, and indeed Scotland’s as a whole in the long term. Perhaps we may have this answer shortly, following the short term let consultation led by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon which closed on 19th July.

GET IN TOUCH

If you currently operate short term lets and are considering your options perhaps with the view of long term rental, then please contact Chalmers Properties or feel free to visit our office on West Nile Street.