Short-term let property owners urged to help homeless

Edinburgh City Council is encouraging owners to help provide accommodation for homeless people.

Owners of short-term let properties in Edinburgh are being encouraged to provide accommodation for homeless people in the long term.

The city council also said it will take action if Airbnb-style holiday flats on communal stairwells are reopened in breach of lockdown restrictions.

As part of its emergency response the council secured around 500 extra beds for homeless people to use during the coronavirus lockdown.

Landlords are now being asked to consider moving properties back into residential use or renting them to the council instead.

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During the crisis, the council increased its use of short-term let accommodation for homeless people by 48%.

At a meeting on Thursday, councillors will consider how the local authority can continue to support the homeless.

Council leader Adam McVey said he wanted to work with landlords in turning short-term lets into homes for vulnerable people.

He said: “During lockdown, with our partners, we’ve successfully brought a number of short-term let properties back into residential use to help us house people experiencing homelessness.

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“This has been really positive for all involved and we need to continue to build on this going forward.

“We face a huge challenge housing people who need it, and we’re saying strongly and clearly that landlords running short-term lets from residentials without permission should stop and move their property back into residential use. This can be part of the solution.”

He continued: “However, as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we also need to be clear that we will take action if required.

“With the health risks associated with Covid-19 it is absolutely vital that all forms of accommodation are properly managed and that those with shared facilities remain closed following government guidance.”

The council would use “any enforcement action available” against owners of short-term lets which operate without permission, he said.