UK: Due to the strain of the COVID-19 coronavirus, many Edinburgh landlords have returned to long-term lets.
The shift is supported by many community groups, who have been bemoaning the growth of short-term lets in the city.
Mike Small of pressure group Citizens Network said: “The virus is forcing the short-term let and Airbnb market to collapse.”
No data is officially available as of yet, but according to The Scotsman, many properties previously listed on short-term rental sites have now appeared on Zoopla and Rightmove. The paper noted that many listing photos include folded towels and set kitchen tables, marks of short-term lets.
Due to restrictions put in place as a result of spread of coronavirus, demand for short-term lets has fallen. Many hotels have closed and those seeking short-term rentals have found their own bookings cancelled.
Airbnb, in response to the virus, has unveiled a new cancellation policy allowing full refunds for bookings.
Campaign Group PLACE Edinburgh, a grassroots rent support group, said: “Short-term letting businesses affected by the current restrictions on travel appear to be returning their properties to the long-term rental market in droves. We sincerely hope that once the ban on non-essential travel is lifted, that these properties stay as homes and do not flip back to unlawful short-term lets.”
PLACE added that it was concerned that many short term letting properties are still listed in spite of government advice.
The Scottish capital has been a hotspot for short-term lets, with some sources estimating that around 14,000 properties are listed on various platforms. Many of these centre around the city’s historic old town, preventing residents from finding permanent housing there.
The Scottish government had unveiled plans in early January to legislate short-term rentals on a nationwide level. They began considering test zones, primarily in Edinburgh, before the virus broke.