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Scots Government waters down holiday let regulations

holidayt lets

All eyes are on Scotland where a scheme to regulate the holiday lets sector has caused a storm after the new licences, which cost between £260 and £520 per property, were introduced.

Such is the furore surrounding the licencing scheme, which bring holiday lets up to the same level of regulation as hotels, that the SNP has now watered it down.

This includes an ability for landlords to apply for an exemption for their properties of up to six weeks a year; will not now require new licences when properties are sold and then bought by another investor; and enable those building holiday let properties to apply for temporary licences so they can secure a mortgage.

The exemptions are the biggest change, allowing home owners to rent out their properties as short-term holiday lets for a period of up to six weeks in any 12-month period, allowing them to make money from ‘one off’ events such as music festival or conferences, without having to have a licence.

Explaining the changes to the existing scheme, Minister for Housing Paul McLennan says: “Short-term let accommodation is vital to Scotland’s tourism sector and wider economy.


“The short-term lets licensing scheme aims to protect the reputation of responsible operators and ensure the sector is regulated in line with other accommodation such as hotels and caravan parks, giving guests assurance of consistent safety standards.

“The technical updates to the scheme passed by Parliament were introduced in response to engagement with short-term let operators and the wider tourism industry.

“This will ensure the scheme continues to deliver quality and safety assurance for guests, whilst protecting the needs of local communities.”

CEO of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association Andy Fenner (pictured) says: "Scotland’s holiday let industry brings in revenue for all kinds of businesses in communities not served by traditional hospitality, and makes the country an attractive destination for the millions of overseas visitors that come every year.

“Improvements, such as the ability to transfer licences and greater flexibility around temporary exemptions should assist in providing more certainty to those who rely on income from tourism.”

But Fional Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scottish Self Caterers, has been less kind, saying: ““Clearly we are delighted that there has been some movement, but they have merely tinkered around the edges”.

Read the official background to the changes.


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