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31 July 2019, 08:29
More than 80% of Scots want new taxes to be imposed on holiday let landlords, according to a poll.
The YouGov survey, carried out on behalf of campaigners 38 Degrees, shows 84% who expressed an opinion would support the introduction of more levies.
Respondents also gave their backing - at 64% - for most of this cash to be ring-fenced to improve local housing.
It comes as campaigners highlight how the upcoming Edinburgh festival season increases the city's accommodation pressures.
Megan Bente Bishop, from Living Rent Edinburgh, said: "Edinburgh's festival season puts extreme strain on the city's housing.
"Huge numbers of new holiday lets have been set up in the city to profit off of this but every holiday let is one fewer home for the people who live and work here year-round.
"You cannot build a city which only serves those who visit a few months a year at the expense of residents, and the situation in Edinburgh underlines the desperate need to limit holiday lets."
The tenant's union representative added: "People across Scotland know all too well what the current lack of regulation on holiday lets means for our communities.
"It means families forced out, communities ripped apart and ever fewer homes for people who want to live and work in Scotland.
"At the same time, the landlords who own these properties are making a killing. This urgently has to change, or the damage done will be irreversible."
Current legislation means private landlords must register with local authorities.
But those who run holiday lets and take bookings through companies - such as Airbnb - are not required to.
The poll also shows 89% of Scots who gave an opinion believe these landlords should be required to register their properties.
It comes as more than 10,000 people have signed a petition from 38 Degrees and Living Rent calling for new regulations to "stop holiday lets destroying our communities."
Chloe Lawson, of 38 Degrees, said: ?"This polling suggests that the vast majority of people across Scotland could also back that demand.
"The ball is now in the Government's court - will they stand up for communities across the country?"
Campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to give councils the power to limit the number of holiday lets, bring in new taxes on the rentals and require landlords to register.
The poll questioned 1,019 adults in Scotland between July 16 and 18.
Scotland's Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: "While short-term lets can have a positive impact and help boost the tourism economy across all areas of Scotland, we know that they can also create challenges for some communities. That's why we want to ensure that short-term lets are regulated appropriately.
"We are grateful for the large number of responses we received to our recent consultation, which we will now carefully consider before publishing an analysis and considering our next steps.
"We are committed to working with local authorities to give them the powers they need to balance the unique needs of their communities with wider economic and tourism interests."