Your life in their hands: Scottish Government moves to regulate short-term lets

Today,(8 January 2020) the Scottish Parliament announced new measures to provide local authorities with the ability to introduce a licensing scheme for short-term rentals where they decide that this is in the interests of local communities.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced the plans, which will become effective from spring 2021.  The system will be implemented by the Scottish Government through amendments to existing legislation.  National safety standards will be included in the licensing scheme, and local authorities will be able to introduce further restrictions, including the requirement for all whole-home short-term-rentals to obtain planning permission in specific areas.

The Government has also committed to a review of how short-term lets will be taxed in the future to ensure that they make an appropriate to local communities and support local services.

Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“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.”

Quality in Tourism’s Safe, Clean & LegalTM framework has been presented as a solution for the national safety standards, ensuring that businesses have the correct documentation and checks in place from fire safety to food safety. We are working with officials in Scotland, alongside partners UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) to assist with the implementation and support for local councils.

For more information on our Safe, Clean & LegalTM scheme please visit our website.

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