PARTS of the Edinburgh Council’s crackdown on Airbnb-style properties are “unfair” and “illogical”, a judge has ruled, in a decision which could affect attempts to regulate short-term lets.

A short-term let operator and a property management company sought a judicial review following the council’s designation of the city as a “control area” for that type of property.

At issue was whether the regulations had retrospective effect on properties which had changed to become a short-term let before the new rules came into effect on September 5, 2022.

In a ruling released on Friday, Lord Braid found in favour of the two petitioners, rejecting the council’s interpretation of planning laws.

It is the second time a court has ruled against Edinburgh’s short-term let licensing scheme this year, with an earlier ruling from Lord Braid saying parts of the policy were “unlawful”.

In the most recent judgment, Lord Braid also took issue with the council’s short-term let application form, saying it “actively discourages” anyone from applying who does not have planning permission or an application in the pipeline, despite this not being required in every case.

Rejecting the council’s arguments, the Court of Session judge considered a hypothetical case of two short-term let operators – one of which had a certificate of lawful use before September 5, 2022 and the other who did not.

READ MORE: Scottish Government's short-term lets scheme explained and false claims debunked

Lord Braid said: “[Edinburgh Council] would have it that the operator with a certificate of lawful use need not apply for planning permission, perhaps recognising that to hold otherwise would be to affect retrospectively the acquired rights of the operator in question; whereas the other operator would be bound to do so.

“That is not only unfair, but illogical.”

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), welcomed the judgment and said it will have implications beyond Edinburgh.

Praising the "perseverance and determination" of Iain Muirhead and Louise Dickins, who brought forward the case, Campbell added: “This grassroots action was not undertaken lightly, and they took the courageous decision to bring this action against Edinburgh council to protect not only their businesses, but also an industry that is critical to both the capital’s economy and the entire tourism sector.”

The council was given powers to designate the whole city as a short-term let control area by the Scottish Government.

It came after concern about the growth of short-term let properties in the city and their impact on local residents.