Neighbours of Edinburgh holiday flat hear ‘screaming and shouting at all hours’

Exasperated neighbours of a holiday flat in Edinburgh have complained of ‘screaming and shouting at all hours’ and feeling ‘uneasy’ about the safety of the block, in a planning row between the city council and a Glasgow Airbnb landlord.

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Glasgow-based Capital Letters Property Management, owned by businessman Steven Strachan, has appealed to the Scottish Government after council planners refused their short term lets application at 5 Albert Street in June.

In an appeal statement, submitted to the government’s Planning and Environment Appeals Division (DPEA), Capital Letters insists that neighbours have no issue with the Airbnb flat – despite the council receiving several objections from residents of the tenement building.

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The property at the centre of the wrangle over noise.

The appeal statement reads: “I would invite anyone to discuss this issue [of noise, antisocial behaviour and antisocial hours] with any members of the stairwell to number 5 Albert Street.

“As noted above, there are no recorded complaints with regards to the rental of flat 2F1.”

However, the original application received several objections from the other occupants of the stair.

Andrew Mortimer, a neighbour of the flat, wrote in his objection: “I’m concerned about noise and disturbance.

“I’m also concerned about security as residents would constantly be unsure of who should be in the stairwell, and who might be there uninvited. I would feel uneasy about leaving the flat unattended.

“I’m worried about losing a sense of community in the stairwell as well.”

Another neighbour, Kay Jay, wrote: “We have had guests in the building already this year and they haven’t been that neighbourly.

“I understand that people visit the city for new adventures and memories but when you’re a resident in a block, it becomes frustrating when you have guests in the building screaming and shouting at all hours, constantly slamming doors.

“The fact that this residential block will now have people flaunting in and out, is that not a covid-19 risk?

“Having multiple people in a small flat, over and over will become an issue in terms of feeling safe.

“Some guests forget that people actually live in the buildings they stay in and don’t really respect it.

“I had to knock on the floor when the last guests were staying because they were making so much noise.

“Noise also travels up the wall from below. I’m not sure if it’s a structural fault or what.

“When you have work at 5am and the guests are still making noise it’s irritating. I’ve lived here for six years and I’m not 100% about this.”

Edinburgh City Council refused the application ‘as it would have a detrimental effect on the living conditions of nearby residents by virtue of increased noise and disturbance to the detriment of residential amenity’, but Capital Letters is arguing this isn’t the case.

Their appeal statement further states: “We would argue strongly that the applicant/landlord has made a positive contribution to improving the amenity of his neighbours.

“If the decision to refuse the application is upheld, then the applicant/landlord will likely sell the property.

“Whether another member of the stairwell will then accept the mantle of responsibility for it’s repair and maintenance is a matter of debate.”

The appeal will now be decided by a government reporter, acting on behalf of Scottish Ministers, by the end of November.

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