Holiday/short let regulation update

The Scottish Government has been working to introduce regulation of the holiday/short let sector. This involves two pieces of legislation.

The first, giving local authorities the power to introduce control areas within which planning permission will be required for the change of use of properties to short-term/holiday lets, came into force on 1 April. Draft guidance setting out in what circumstances a host/operator would be expected to apply for planning permission to operate a short term let can be found here.

Edinburgh Council is the first local authority to launch a consultation on plans to introduce a control area covering the whole of the city. The consultation can be read and responded to here. The deadline for responses is 5 November 2021. It is likely that some other local authorities will begin steps to introduce control areas over the coming months.

The second piece of legislation, to require all operators of short-term/holiday lets in Scotland to apply for a licence, has been delayed to give time for the government to further consider and scrutinise the proposals following concerns raised by some MSPs and stakeholder groups about the operation of the licensing scheme. The cabinet secretary for social justice, housing and local government has advised that the government’s intention is now to lay the legislation in November and keep to the original timetable for implementation of the licensing scheme.

Licensing authorities will have until 1 October 2022 to establish a licensing scheme; existing hosts and operators must have applied for a licence by 1 April 2023 in order to keep operating; and all short-term lets must be licensed by 1 April 2024. Those applying for a licence will undergo a fit and proper person test and must confirm (via a declaration or photographic/documentary evidence) that they meet safety standards and licensing conditions.

Draft guidance setting out how the licensing scheme is expected to work has been published by the government and can be found here.

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