All short-term lets in Scotland must have a licence after the Scottish government succeeded in its bid to clamp down on the sector.

Local authorities will need to set up a licensing scheme by 1st October and existing hosts and operators will have until 1st April 2023 to apply for a licence. Fees will be set to cover councils’ costs in establishing and administering the scheme and will be between £214 and £436 for a three-year licence.

Residents’ concerns

The legislation was developed in response to concerns raised by residents and communities about the impact of short-term let properties on their local communities, including noise, antisocial behaviour and the effect on the supply of housing and rents.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison says the scheme will allow local authorities and communities to take action to manage issues more effectively, without unduly curtailing the many benefits of short-term lets to hosts, visitors and the economy. She adds: “This legislation covers the whole of Scotland, including island and rural communities, and offers flexibility to local authorities in how it is implemented based on local needs and concerns.”

Alternative scheme

Airbnb was one of many groups and companies among Scotland’s tourism sector who had urged the government to rethink its hard-line plans, warning that they could jeopardise 17,000 jobs in the region and take almost £1 million a day out of the Scottish economy. Self-catering business leaders had called for an alternative registration scheme.

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, says: “MSPs have agreed to a piece of legislation that remains unfit for purpose, lacks an evidence base and was more often than not based on groundless fears, anecdote and hearsay. The sector has been used as a convenient scapegoat for wider policy failures by government, especially on housing.”

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