Short-term let regulations in Scotland

New legislation proposed requiring all short-term lets in Scotland to be licensed

Over the past years short-term lets have been a topic of controversy across Scotland. However, with the boom of Airbnb, they have also become a very popular choice for tourists and property investors alike.

Local communities in high volume short-term let areas (such as Edinburgh and Skye) have been putting pressure on the Scottish Government and local councils to protect their areas from the negative impacts of short-term lets. There are issues such as lack of properties for locals and disruption to local neighbourhoods.

New short-term lets licensing laws

On November 23rd the Scottish Government announced that legislation is being tabled that would require all local authorities to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October 2022.

If approved, existing hosts and operators will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a license. All properties that are used as short-term lets across Scotland will have to be licensed by 1 July 2024. The licensing would operate on a per property level, so if an individual has multiple short-term let properties, they will need a license for each.

Exactly what the criteria of the licensing will be, remains unclear, as this will be set at a local authority level.

However points that have been mentioned previously, have excluded properties with shared entrances or amenities from being permitted a license.

Current short-term let legislation

Legislation was passed in April 2021 which allows local authorities to establish short-term let control areas and manage the number of short-term lets.

Currently some short-term lets in Edinburgh can be required to apply for planning permission. However, this is only a case-by-case basis. This usually occurs if a series of complaints are made about the noise or behaviour linked to the short-term let.

More short-term lets may convert to long term rentals

Graeme MacKay, Marketing Director of MOV8, said “Ultimately, any legislation that is aimed at making living and letting circumstances safer and more positive for residents and local communities is a good thing.

“Until we know full details of what the licensing criteria is, it is difficult to tell what the impact of the legislation may have on the short-term let market.

“One possibility is that more short-term lets may become longer term rental properties. This will however mean a greater choice for tenants in certain areas. This would also help to maintain a steady market for lettings property investors”.

If you are looking to purchase a property for investment purposes and wish to discuss this further, get in touch at [email protected].


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