A licencing scheme for short-term lets could effectively ban small business owners without improving the housing crisis, a group of critics has said.

A judicial review of Edinburgh's implementation of the Scottish Government's short-term-let licensing legislation is being heard this week.

The landlords taking the city council to court said the new rules would have a "seismic" impact on the capital.

But the housing minister said responsible operators had "nothing to worry about".

Scotland's short-term-let licensing scheme came into effect last October.

The Scottish Government said the scheme was developed in response to residents' concerns about the impact of short-term-let properties such as Airbnb rentals on their communities.

'Drop in the ocean'

Despite claims that the policies could help address housing shortages, homelessness charity Shelter said the scheme was "a drop in the ocean" in Edinburgh, where 38,500 social homes were needed.

But tourism leaders have described Edinburgh's rules as a "de facto ban" on holiday lets for small business owners that were removing "small operators in favour of big business".

The BBC says many owners of rental properties in Edinburgh have complained they have not been able meet new requirements for retrospective planning permission for a change of use.

Louise Dickins, from Dickins Homes From Home, is one of four petitioners bringing the crowdfunded judicial review against Edinburgh Council's scheme.

She said the policies implemented in Edinburgh would have a "disastrous" impact on the city, its festival and responsible businesses.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said they would not comment on the live legal action.

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