A bid to control the number of Airbnbs and other short-term lets in Fife’s East Neuk sparked a huge debate this week.
And Fife Council has now agreed to consider options for control areas in communities across the region.
The move comes amid growing housing pressure for local people trying to secure a home.
Now the spotlight has turned to Perthshire as people question whether there is a similar issue there.
We look at how high numbers of holiday homes may affect locals, particularly in tourism hostpots where visitors are vital for the economy.
And we also speak to a Blairgowrie woman who describes short-term lets as “the scourge of society” as a flat in her block is let to a succession of holidaymakers.
But we also want to know what you, our readers, think about the issue.
‘The scourge of society’
For one elderly Blairgowrie resident, the holiday let above her flat has caused noise issues and security concerns.
The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, moved into the Riverside Park apartment three years ago but the neighbouring flat became a holiday let in April.
She says the front door is constantly left unlocked by guests, with residents – many of whom are elderly – disturbed by loud noise.
“Right above me has been turned into a holiday let and it’s just awful,” she said.
“I’ve tried complaining to the factors and I’m not getting anywhere.
“Holiday lets are the scourge of society.
“My opinion is they should not be allowed in residential apartment blocks.”
She added: “There’s no peace here anymore. I loved it here and I don’t want to be pushed out.”
Highland Perthshire: Tourism and locals
Towns in Highland Perthshire have long been a hotspot for tourists hoping to take in some of the most beautiful areas of Scotland.
But how does this annual influx of visitors affect locals in the area hoping to secure a home?
One Highland ward councillor suggests it often has a “detrimental” impact.
But he has also called for a balance, with tourism offering a significant boost to Highland Perthshire and its economy.
SNP Councillor Mike Williamson said: “Communities in which holiday lets and second homes make up a large proportion include Highland Perthshire.
“In 2020 there were almost 2000 holiday lets registered for business rates in Perth and Kinross, with 25% of those in Highland Perthshire.
“This often has a detrimental impact on local families looking to live and work in their communities.
“It is a difficult balance as tourism is one of the main employers so there is a struggle between employment opportunities and lack of affordable housing.
“Local authorities can also be impacted as they try to maintain services such as schools with a backdrop of a contracting resident population.”
He added: “While we welcome the influx of tourists to the area we also recognise that this can put a strain on local services, not only medical facilities but the supply of food in the local supermarkets.
“I feel we should be looking at how other areas of the world have created sustainable tourism models to see what lessons can be learned, to see if these can be incorporated into existing policies.”
And what about Perth?
Perth itself appears to have seen a lesser concentration of short-term lets, particularly in the city centre.
But local representatives remain cautious and very much aware of the issue.
Liberal Democrat Perth City Centre councillor Peter Barrett believes more effective regulation of short-term lets needs to come into force alongside a “massive investment” in social housing.
He said: “We’ve been fortunate not to have whole neighbourhoods with high concentrations of short-term lets spring up in Perth city centre.
“We have escaped the scale of problems which have transformed the historic old town of Edinburgh, which include noise, anti-social behaviour and social isolation when a whole tenement bar one flat have been turned over to short-term lets.
“However Perthshire hasn’t been immune to the well-publicised problems surrounding Airbnb lets.
“There are long-standing issues with second homes and holiday homes which have driven properties out of the financial reach of young people and local families on lower incomes in rural towns and villages.
“The knock-on consequences can be seen in falling school roles in towns and villages, a rapidly rising older population and the impact on the viability on rural banks post offices and shops which directly affects the sustainability of local communities.”
He added: “Provision of housing is slowly beginning to be seen through a human rights lens but it has become commodified with entrenched interests on return on investment and rising prices taking priority over social and community needs.”
“We need effective regulation of the short-term lettings market but we also need massive investment in social housing.”
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