Short-term/holiday let regulations published

Following two public consultations, the Scottish Government has laid two pieces of draft legislation before Parliament to bring in regulation of the short-term/holiday let sector.

The first, to give 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, is expected to come into force on 1 April. 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 the requirement to apply for planning permission.

The second, to require all operators of short-term/holiday lets in Scotland to apply for a licence, has now been temporarily withdrawn. This is to give time for the government to produce draft guidance to alleviate the concerns of some MSPs about the operation of the proposed licensing scheme. The Housing Minister has advised that the government’s intention is to re-lay the legislation in June and keep to the original timetable for implementation of the licensing scheme. Local authorities will have until 1 April 2022 to establish a licensing scheme and existing operators will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence. 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.

The Scottish Government intends to produce a guidance document in spring 2021 for those operating holiday/short-term lets. We will share a link to this document with members once it is published.

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