Family's holiday getaway nearly derailed due to short term let policy

A booking was cancelled after the accommodation provider missed the application deadline date.

Family’s Fife holiday getaway nearly derailed due to Scottish Government’s short term let policy LDRS

An accommodation provider in Anstruther was forced to cancel a family’s long standing booking after missing the government’s licence scheme application deadline by just a couple of days. 

Katrina, from North Lanarkshire, said it’s a tradition for her, her husband, her children and her large friend group to visit Fife around Christmas time. 

For the past eight years, Katrina’s group has stayed in the Kingdom – finding their favourite beaches, restaurants, towns and generating tourism revenue along the way. 

This year, Katrina booked her accommodation all the way back in March. However, just a few weeks ago her booking was unexpectedly cancelled. 

“[Our letting agent] told us that the owner of the property hadn’t applied for this government licence scheme on time. They only missed it by a few days but they were going to have to cancel our reservation as a result of that,” she said. 

“We were massively disappointed, but [the agency] said they have a few other properties in the same predicament. It’s just a real shame.” 

With less than two months until their holiday, Katrina embarked on a “mad scramble” to find new accommodation, but the group of 16 holiday makers were nearly forced to cancel their traditional trip to Fife entirely. 

“Our trip luckily wasn’t ruined, but I’m sure many other people’s trips will be because maybe they won’t be fortunate enough to find somewhere else at the last minute,” she said. 

“The new licensing scheme just feels unfairly bureaucratic. It’s not as though these rental houses have changed. They’re just applying for these like-for-like licences. Surely it doesn’t take that amount of time to essentially rubber stamp things.” 

According to data from the council, there are other operators across Fife in a similar state of limbo after missing the October 1 deadline. 

Under the Scottish Government’s new Short Term Let Licence scheme, all guest houses, Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs), AirBnBs, and self-catering accommodation owners across Scotland were mandated to apply for their licence by October 1 or face consequences. 

The Scottish Government put the new scheme in place last year to “ensure basic safety standards are in place across all short-term lets operating in Scotland, while also providing discretionary powers to licensing authorities to address the needs and concerns of local communities.” 

Existing accommodation providers that applied before October 1 are able to continue taking booking and operating while their applications are processed, but those that missed the boat cannot operate without a licence.

Fife Council has received approximately 50 short term let applications since the deadline, all of which must be considered as new applications. The entire process could take up to nine months – which means that accommodation providers who missed the deadline could be missing out on income for the better part of a year. 

In total, Fife Council said it received approximately 1,850 short-term let applications from October 2022 when the scheme was implemented. Around 1,000 of those were received in September 2023, leading up to the deadline. 

Katrina is not the first person to criticise the scheme. It has faced harsh criticism and mixed reviews from hosts, politicians and community members throughout the country – including Fife – during its rollout.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in