Holyrood committee votes in favour of short-term lets licensing scheme

A Holyrood committee has backed plans to introduce a licensing scheme for short-term let properties in Scotland.

Holyrood committee votes in favour of short-term lets licensing scheme

The Scottish Government plans to introduce a mandatory licensing scheme by 2024 to ensure that all short-term lets are safe and to address issues faced by neighbours. The regulations would also give councils powers to manage pressures created by the use of whole properties as short-term lets.

In December, the local government, housing and planning committee heard evidence from a number of groups in favour and opposed to the plans.

A majority of MSPs on the committee then voted in favour of the regulations, although a minority felt a registration scheme would be more appropriate as it placed fewer burdens on owners.

In a report published on Wednesday, the committee said they had been persuaded that police and councils needed greater powers to tackle antisocial behaviour and criminality.

It said: “The committee also notes the preference for a registration scheme as expressed to it by some witnesses.

“A minority of members found these arguments persuasive and would prefer for there to be a registration scheme, considering it to be a more proportionate response.

“A majority of members, however, were persuaded of the need for a licensing scheme primarily on the basis that a registration scheme would not give local authorities and Police Scotland the powers they need to tackle antisocial behaviour and criminality associated with some short-term lets.”

The report said the impact of short-term lets on the tourism sector was unclear and stressed the importance of a review taking place in 2023.

The committee also considered submissions from Community Land Scotland and a petition from the tenants union Living Rent, who wanted to see powers to tackle overprovision of short-term lets reintroduced into the legislation.

MSPs on the committee said it was not possible to amend the current licensing order and said the issue should be revisited by the Scottish Government’s review in 2023.

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