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“Is your New Year Resolution to earn more from your property flagging?”

This evening in Edinburgh’s city centre a stylish up-market furniture store – Bo Concept (sofas £5,699k a pop) – will co-host with ‘Pass the Keys’ – a seminar on how to “Breathe life into it with Airbnb hosting!” The blurb tells us: “Airbnb in Edinburgh is quickly gaining traction.”

You don’t say.

Looking at this data map from August 2018 (right) we can see a City for Tourists, a city that has been bought and sold.

Air BnB and cultural tourism is driving a housing crisis exacerbated by massive profiteering. The sharing economy has turned into a nightmare, with the gulf between Air BnB’s marketing “Belong Anywhere” and the reality of residential communities a gaping void.

A small group of property owners are now hauling in vast sums, seizing up properties that could be bought or rented for long-term residents as homes, and instead turning Edinburgh into one large party hotel.

Bo Concept and Pass the Keys are indulging the destruction of communities as a lifestyle experience. Edinburgh’s property class is trolling you.

Of course its not restricted to Edinburgh. Airbnb has over 500 listings across the island of Skye – where there are only 5000 homes.

As Andy Wightman has written:

“Housing is a human right and as generation rent grows with the private rented sector having trebled in Scotland since 1999, the pressures on housing grow ever more severe. The conversion of residential property, whether it be a cottage on Arran or a flat in the Grassmarket, is one less home available to those in need. When landlords in Edinburgh can earn as much in a week from short-term lets as they do in a month and when even the new Tenancy legislation allows landlords to evict tenants if they wish to convert to short-term letting, it is no surprise that we are currently witnessing the fallout of the neo-liberal city.”

Air BnB is one company but part of a wider phenomenon driven by over-tourism, which is hollowing out residential communities, taking housing out of the reach of local people and creating anti-social mayhem throughout neighbourhoods.

Pass the Keys is just one of a proliferation of companies swarming around this money, as Edinburgh and other places get destroyed by greed and the short-term letting bonanza.

Tickets are available here.

The feeding frenzy has spiraled out creating a host of new companies offering advice and support to property owners.

Brian Gilmour is the resident property expert on the BBC Radio Scotland Kaye Adams Programme and can be heard every second Tuesday on the show. He’s the Director of something called Indidigo Square. In one charming recent article “The End of Air BnB in Glasgow or Just a Whingers Charter?” he’s asked: “How much does the typical Airbnb owner make during the Fringe?”

He replies:

“As I say, I have found from discussions on the Kay Adams Programme that Airbnb can be very lucrative in Edinburgh during the Fringe, although with up to 10,000 properties listing during this August’s festival season, supply and demand can start to have a negative impact on what people can make. But, if a typical two-bedroom flat in Edinburgh may be rented out for 700 pounds a month, and it can get 500 pounds a night during the Fringe, you can see that one month of Fringe Airbnb activity is approximately two years of normal rental income.”

The defenders of the Eternal Growth Festival, with its celebrated status as a deregulated free-for-all, need to look this squarely in the eye. Cultural tourists are tourists. Cultural tourism is driving this.

Today, hilariously, Shona McCarthy of the Fringe appeals to residents of Edinburgh to put up artists. She’s asking people to “share a unique experience” rather than make a financial gain.

She’s worried that the city is “at risk of becoming unaffordable for artists” and needed a city-wide effort to re-balance its “delicate ecosystem.” Full article here.

That’s some astonishing lack of perspective.








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