Artist resists Bonnyrigg Airbnb call by Midlothian Council

Council HQ Midlothian House, Buccleuch St Dalkeith.
Council HQ Midlothian House, Buccleuch St Dalkeith.

An artist, who rented out her studio for Airbnb clients, is challenging a council’s bid to shut it down because she had bookings beyond the closure date.

The studio was built at a private property on Viewbank Road, Bonnyrigg, after Midlothian Council granted planning permission for domestic use.

However, the local authority issued an enforcement order against the owners last month after discovering it had been advertised and used for short-term letting as an Airbnb.

But appealing the notice, which gives the owners until February 10 to cease using the studio for rent, agents for the owners claimed that bookings which had already been paid for go beyond the cease order and insisted their clients had no idea they were breaching any conditions. The agent also argued that not enough time was given to the owners to negotiate a solution with the local authority after the notice was issued at the start of December.

In the enforcement order issued by the local authority, they claim the studio has been used on a “continuous and intensive basis” since August 2019, with 21 online reviews by people who had used it as a separate unit of accommodation from the owners’ house. And it said that check-in for the Airbnb was available until 1am.

It said: “The unauthorised use of the same building has been the subject of substantial public complaint to the council.

“That has come from the occupiers of various and separate local residential properties. All have raised concerns about parking and noise issues resulting from the unauthorised use of the building.”

However, the owners’ agent challenges the claims the studio has been used continuously, adding “as a working artist there have been periods where she has blocked off Airbnb and used the building for her own personal use”.

They also point out police have no record of complaints about noise from the property.

The appeal, which has been lodged with the Scottish Government Reporter, is currently open for public representations.