Short term let regulation proposals welcomed by CIH Scotland

Short term let regulation proposals welcomed by CIH Scotland

Ashley Campbell

Long proponents of better regulation of short term lets, CIH Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to introducing flexible powers for local authorities to deal with particular issues in their area.

The government has set out plans for the regulation of short term lets including a nationwide licencing scheme and discretionary powers for local authorities to apply for control areas to be designated in specific locations if they think that further restrictions might be required. Where a control area is designated, planning permission would be required for a residential property to be converted into a short term let.

A consultation on the plans includes details of licencing requirements that all short term lets would have to meet, including extending the Repairing Standard which currently applies to the private rented sector. The Repairing Standard covers the property condition and health and safety elements such as fire, gas and electrical safety and carbon monoxide detection.

Local authorities will also be able to add licencing conditions at their discretion and tailored to local conditions. For example, they may wish to include additional rules around noise or anti-social behaviour.

CIH Scotland has previously raised concerns with the negative impacts that short term lets can have in some areas, particularly where there are high concentrations.

The issues include:

  • Conversion of residential property into short term accommodation, reducing choice for local residents and pushing up prices;
  • Nuisance for neighbours and local communities caused by noise, damage or litter in communal spaces and lack of security in buildings with shared entrances;
  • Lack of regulation leading to potential safety issues for guests and neighbours. Lack of regulation can also create an incentive for private landlords to convert residential accommodation into short term lets if doing so would be easier or more profitable.

Responding to the consultation on the latest proposals, Ashley Campbell, policy and practice manager at CIH Scotland, said communication and enforcement will be key to be the new regulations.

Ms Campbell said: “We welcome the introduction of regulations for short term lets in Scotland. While we recognise that this type of accommodation is popular with tourists, can provide flexible income for hosts and support local economies, we also need to acknowledge the negative impact that short term lets can have on some communities.

“Where large numbers of homes are being converted into holiday accommodation, local residents have less choice over where they can live and may see costs pushed up. Many people have also experienced noise nuisance from parties and may feel insecure with strangers coming in and out of shared stairways. The current lack of regulation or accountability means that guests and neighbours can be put at risk if homes are not being maintained or do not have adequate fire safety measures in place and this is unacceptable.”

She added: “We are pleased that short term let hosts will now have to meet the same safety standards as private landlords. These regulations are a step in the right direction but will only be effective if they are effectively communicated, understood and enforced.”

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