Licensing short-term lets laid before Scottish Parliament

23 November 2021
By Lucy Ashton
So, you live in a nice, quiet area. That’s the very reason you bought the place after all, but one Friday night a mini bus or maybe a stretch limo drives up to the house next door to you and it’s full of partygoers.

Suddenly,you are subjected to  the sound of very loud music, which goes on until well into and even past the early hours of the morning.

Car doors are slamming as one taxi after another draws up at your gate to collect high spirited revellers and take them home – or on to the next knees up.

You have now got the picture of what happens to people unfortunate enough to live next to a house which is leased out to people who choose to use it for parties or holiday weeks or weekends.

People are totally fed up with this situation and have complained in their droves to their local MSPs.

Now local councils will be given powers to ensure short-term lets are safe and meet the needs of their local communities under legislation laid before the Scottish Parliament.

Under the legislation, all local authorities will be required to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October 2022. Existing hosts and operators will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence for each property that they operate as a short-term let. All short-term lets in Scotland will have to be licensed by 1 July 2024.

The legislation was developed after residents across Scotland raised significant concerns about the impact of short-term lets on their communities, including noise, antisocial behaviour and the impact on the supply on housing in some areas. It will ensure the needs and concerns of communities are balanced with wider economic and tourism interests.

SNP Housing Secretary Shona Robison whose committee will introduce new legislation.

SNP Housing Secretary Shona Robison, pictured above, said: “We have already introduced legislation allowing councils to establish short-term let control areas and manage numbers of short-term lets.

“This is the next significant step to delivering a licensing scheme that will ensure short-term lets are safe and the people providing them are suitable. We want short term lets to continue making a positive impact on Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies while meeting the needs of local communities.

“Short-term lets can offer people a flexible travel option. However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hotspots, high numbers of lets can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in. The licensing scheme and control area legislation give councils the powers to take action where they need to.

“We appreciate the input from tourism bodies, local government, community organisations and others in reaching this point, and look forward to delivering a short-term lets licensing scheme that works for Scotland.”

Further information on the Scottish Government’s short-term lets legislation is available online.

The new legislation is subject to approval by MSPs. Legislation allowing councils to establish short-term let control areas and manage numbers of short-term lets came into force in April 2021.

The Scottish Government has published a report today on the third public consultation and a revised Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment.

The Scottish Government will now reconvene the stakeholder working group to finalise guidance for the licensing scheme, to be published early in 2022.

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