HOUSING: Draft guidance brought forward on short-term lets

By Lucy Ashton   Picture by Sean Davenport

Do you let out your house for overnights, weekends and holidays? If so, you will be pleased to hear that legislation for a short-term lets licensing scheme has been withdrawn from the Scottish Parliament to allow for draft guidance to be developed.  

A stakeholder working group has been established to help develop the guidance and met this week for the first time.

According to government sources, the guidance will help to provide reassurance on the operation of the scheme to operators and hosts in the sector.

Subject to the outcome of the election, the Scottish Government intends to re-lay the legislation before Parliament in June, accompanied by the draft guidance, to ensure that the timetable on introducing licensing remains the same.

The Government will continue with legislation allowing councils to establish short-term let control areas. This legislation will empower local authorities to implement short-term let control areas, if they wish to do so, to address pressures created by whole property short-term lets, ensuring that homes are used to best effect in their areas.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, pictured right,  said:  “Our proposals to licence short-term lets were developed in response to concerns raised by residents in communities across Scotland and Members in all parties. 

“However, I know concerns have been raised, so have therefore decided to withdraw this legislation so that it can be reconsidered in parallel with draft guidance which will help address those concerns. I want the licensing scheme to be as efficient and effective as possible in ensuring the safety of guests and residents, and to provide local authorities with the powers to balance community concerns with wider economic and tourism interests.

“I want to emphasise that our proposals and overall timetable remain the same. Safety of those using short-term lets is vital and our proposals ensure that all short-term lets across Scotland adhere to a common set of safety standards as well as allowing local authorities to tackle issues such as antisocial behaviour.

“This Government’s intention, therefore, subject to the outcome of the election, is to re-lay this legislation in June alongside the published draft guidance. If it is passed, local authorities will still have until 1 April 2022 to establish a scheme tailored to their local needs and existing hosts will have until 1 April 2023 to apply.”

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