A housing association in one of Scotland’s most popular visitor destinations has warned tenants they risk eviction if they continue sub-letting their homes to tourists.
Over 500,000 people visit the Isle of Skye every year, with recent analysis stating up to one in ten properties on the island are listed on short-term letting websites including AirBnb.
However, bosses at the Skye and Lochalsh Housing Association have now warned those living in homes operated by the organisation they are at risk of “violating agreements” by renting entire houses or single rooms to visitors.
Earlier this year, analysis produced by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) found more than 550 properties were listed on AirBnB.
Lachie MacDonald, the chief executive of the Association, said: "The tenant's agreement is quite clear. Tenants can't operate a business from the property.”
"We rely on the tenancy agreement between us and the tenant and that's what we will be using to correspond with them about."
He added: "We're contacting the tenants to remind them of the obligations of the tenancy agreement. If they ignore this correspondence then the matters will be passed to our solicitors to take it further and implement the terms of our tenancy agreement."
It is estimated the popular Fairy Pools on the island attract upwards of 100,000 visitors each year alone, with others drawn to locations including the Cuillin Ridge and The Old Man of Storr.
In February, researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University launched a major new study into the into the impact of tourism on the area with the aim of developing a ‘masterplan’ for future visitor numbers.
The decision comes as Highland Council launched a consultation on plans to introduce a ‘tourist tax’ to help fund infrastructure and repairs to locations in the region which experience a high density of visitor activity.
A report submitted to the local authority’s environment, development and infrastructure committee said tourists generated up to £1billion for the area every year.
The final summation of residents' views will be presented to council leaders in December, but any decision on introducing the surcharge cannot be taken until the Scottish Government passes supporting legislation.
Dave Till, chairman of tourism management organisation Skyeconnect, said: “As with all tenant/landlord relationships there are tenancy agreements that must be adhered to.”
“We are all too aware of the accommodation pressures during the tourist season but we would urge all providers to ensure that they check they are legally entitled to sublet and also have all the appropriate insurances in place.”
He added: “The growth in AirBnB accommodation has been of benefit to tourism but there is some concern about the lack of regulation in this particular sector of the hospitality industry.”