Council leader determined, despite ruling on short-term lets

THE leader of The City of Edinburgh Council has stated his determination to protect the city from what he describes as the “hollowing” effect of short-term lets on the city’s housing stock, despite a ruling by the highest court in Scotland.

The Outer House of the Court of Session (the Inner one being that of appeals) has ruled (here) in favour of four applicants who – following a crowdfunding campaign totalling a reported £300,000 – challenged a presumption that properties in tenement blocks should be considered unsuitable for a short-term let licence (an exception being a property having been in operation as a short-term let for at least ten years).

The court ruled in petitioner’s favour, with the legal representation of the quartet saying, here: “The challenge was successful with the court finding that the council’s policy is unlawful at Common Law, in respect of the rebuttable presumption, the lack of provision for temporary licences and the requirement to supply floor coverings. The court also found that the policy breaches The Provision of Services Regulations 2009 regulations.”

Rosie Walker, head of Litigation at Gilson Gray LLP, who acted for the petitioners, told “This is a comprehensive victory for our clients, who succeeded on almost all grounds of appeal.  It is hoped that the council will now engage constructively with the industry to find a way forward.”

Meanwhile, the council’s leader is quoted, in a council announcement, here, as saying: “I’ve received today’s judgement and am pleased that we’ve been successful in defending large parts of our policy.

“While I’m obviously disappointed that the court didn’t find in favour of our policy on secondary lets, I make absolutely no apology for seeking to protect our residents.”

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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