Law News

Scotland short-term lets to see introduction of new regulation

Em Morley - January 13, 2020

New methods to regulate short-term lets are to be introduced by the Scottish Government.

From spring 2021 local authorities will see an introduction of powers that will allow them to regulate short-term lets.

The Government has clarified that its aim is to enable councils to become better informed about what is happening in their area, improve safety and assist with the effective handling of complaints.

The licensing scheme will include a new mandatory safety requirement. This will cover every type of short-term let with the aim to ensure a safe, quality experience for visitors.

Ministers have committed to giving careful thought to how short-term lets will be taxed in the future.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart commented: “Short-term lets can offer people a flexible travel option and have contributed positively to Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies across the country.

“However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hot spots, high numbers of short-term lets are causing problems and often make it harder for people to find homes to live in.

“That is why we are empowering local authorities to implement a system that works for their area. By giving councils the power to set conditions around short-term lets licences and put in place planning control areas to tackle hot spots, communities across Scotland will be able to decide what is best for them and their local economy.

“Everybody wants visitors, hosts, neighbours and local residents to be safe. That is why the licensing scheme includes a safety element which will be mandatory across Scotland for all short-term lets. Separately, local authorities will be given discretion to include further conditions to help tackle littering or overcrowding of properties.

“These powers will allow local authorities to ensure a safe, quality experience for visitors, whilst protecting the interests of local communities.”

David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark, has also responded to this news: “It’s positive to see that the Scottish government are taking steps to regulate short term lets. 

“In some urban areas, the supply of local housing is under intense pressure and as the private rental sector becomes increasingly regulated, landlords are moving further towards the less regulated short-term letting space which further reduces this supply. This can also result in lower quality accommodation for tenants and overall creates a vastly uneven playing field.

“By further regulating the sector, local authorities will be able to control the number of short term lets in Scotland, but also ensure that effective health and safety requirements are put in place to protect those seeking a short term let.”