Scottish Parliament approves short let licensing scheme

The Scottish Parliament has approved legislation which will require all operators of short-term/holiday lets in Scotland to apply for a licence. Local 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 July 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. A list of mandatory licence conditions can be found here.

Draft guidance setting out how the licensing scheme is expected to work has been published by the government and can be found here.

Last year legislation was approved 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. Draft guidance setting out in what circumstances a host/operator would be expected to apply for planning permission to operate a short term let can be found here.

The City of Edinburgh Council is the first local authority to consider introducing a control area covering the whole of the city, holding a public consultation on their proposals in Autumn 2021, details of which can be read here.

Following a request from SAL for clarification on the position of established short-term/holiday lets, we are pleased that the government has confirmed our understanding that properties which have been operated as short-term/holiday lets without enforcement action being taken in the last 10 years will be exempt from any requirement to apply for planning permission.