Councils required to tighten rules on short-term rental properties

Existing hosts and operators have until April 1, 2023, to apply for a licence.

Councils required to tighten rules on short-term rental properties iStock

Councils in Scotland are now legally required to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme.

MSPs passed legislation in January this year for the requirement to be in place by October 1.

Existing hosts and operators will have until April 1 next year to apply for a licence.

All short-term lets will need to be licenced by July 2024 under the changes in the law.

The legislation has bene introduced in response to concerns raised by residents and communities about the impact of short-term let properties, including due to noise and anti-social behaviour.

In order 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.

A targeted digital marketing campaign to promote the licensing scheme is being launched on Saturday to help promote awareness of the changes.

The change is being brought in following concerns over the impact of short-term lets on communities.iStock

Housing secretary Shona Robison acknowledged that the “vast majority” of short-term lets are already following safety standards set out.

However, she explained that the regulations will help to balance the needs of local residents and communities.

“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,” she said.

“These new conditions include measures such as displaying an energy performance rating on listings, on 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.”

Robison urged hosts and operators of short-term lets to contact their council “as early as possible” to find out about how to apply for a licence.

“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 balance with the needs of local residents and communities,” she continued.

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

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, stated that his organisation will continue to help businesses through the application process.

“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,” he said.

“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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