Licensing scheme for short-term lets comes into force

Licensing scheme for short-term lets comes into force

Housing secretary Shona Robison

A new licensing scheme for short-term let hosts which aims to ensure consistent safety standards while reinforcing the positive reputation of Scottish tourism and hospitality opened on October 1.

The Scottish Government said the licensing scheme was developed in response to concerns raised by residents about the impact of short-term let properties on their local communities. It gives councils flexibility to develop licensing schemes that meet local needs, and sits alongside powers for councils to establish short-term let control areas.

To comply with the licence, hosts will be required to meet a set of mandatory conditions which apply across Scotland, plus any additional conditions set by their council.

Anyone operating as a host before 1 October has until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence and can operate until their application has been determined. New hosts must obtain a licence before accepting bookings and welcoming guests to stay.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s new licensing scheme also includes additional controls for short-term lets for properties used as secondary letting within a tenement or shared main door property.

The capital’s scheme will allow the authority to restrict tenements and shared door properties being used, and ensure that correct planning permission and safety checks are in place.

The Scottish Government said it has committed to working with local authorities, as well as organisations such as Airbnb, and the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers, to review levels of short-term let activity in hotspot areas next summer. It will monitor the impact of these measures on the wider tourism sector, and assess whether any further measures are required.

Housing secretary Shona Robison said: “Our new licensing scheme will support responsible operators and give guests the confidence that their short-term let – be it a flat in Edinburgh, a property for a business trip to the Borders, or a cottage in the Highlands – meets the same set of safety standards.

“These new conditions include measures such as displaying an energy performance rating on listings, or securing valid buildings and public liability insurance. We know the vast majority of short-term lets businesses are already following these safety standards as a matter of best practice, and some are already required by existing legislation.

“We know short-term lets make a positive contribution to Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies, and these measures will allow them to continue doing just that while ensuring this is balanced with the needs of local residents and communities.

“The deadline for applications from existing hosts is 1 April, and I would urge all hosts and operators to contact your local authority as early as possible to learn how to apply.”

Malcolm Roughead, CEO at VisitScotland, said: “The small accommodation sector is a key contributor to the economy and our high-quality and varied offering is one of the things that makes Scotland such a special destination.

“Through an Industry Advisory Group, we’ve been working closely with representatives from across the sector ahead of introduction of the licensing schemes.

“We’ll continue to give both new and established businesses the right advice to help them through the process of applying for a short-term let licence.”

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