MSP says short-term let regulation “vital” to tackling housing crisis

Emma, a young dark-haired woman, looks into the camera. The seafront is behind her with ships in the background. She is wearing a tartan face covering.

SNP MSP Emma Roddick has claimed short-term let regulation is “vital” to tackling the housing crisis in the Highlands and Islands.

Short-term lets have been an area of discussion in Scotland for a while, with the effects being magnified by the Coronavirus pandemic. The increase of individuals ‘holidaying at home’ has been exponential and has led to a significant proportion of Scotland’s properties being used as holiday accommodation. In many areas, locals are being priced out of the market by those buying properties to use as short-term lets.

Speaking on the importance of short-term let regulation, Roddick said:

“The short-term lets regulations are something I personally support very strongly and believe are necessary, particularly in the Highlands and Islands. Tourism is indeed important to our economy; however, we mustn’t put visitors above our local residents.

“In Skye, young people are most likely to present as homeless or homeless at home out of the whole Highland Council area, while 11% of whole homes are currently listed as AirBnBs. Increasingly, we are seeing homes purchased, sight-unseen, well over the asking price and out of reach of local families.

“Additionally, The Shetland Times reported this month that healthcare workers are turning away from the islands as they can’t find affordable accommodation. This is devastating for the local community – especially during a pandemic – as we are beginning to see a shortage in healthcare staff.

“Action to regulate the numbers of short-term lets will make a big difference in housing availability and affordability, especially in rural areas.”