Councils will be given powers to ensure short-term lets are safe and meet the needs of their local communities, under legislation laid before the Scottish Parliament.
Under the legislation, all local authorities will be required to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October 2022.
Existing hosts and operators will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence for each property that they operate as a short-term let. All short-term lets in Scotland will have to be licensed by 1 July 2024.
The legislation was developed after residents across Scotland raised significant concerns about the impact of short-term lets on their communities, including noise, antisocial behaviour and the impact on the supply on housing in some areas.
It aims to ensure the needs and concerns of communities are balanced with wider economic and tourism interests.
Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “We have already introduced legislation allowing councils to establish short-term let control areas and manage numbers of short-term lets.
“This is the next significant step to delivering a licensing scheme that will ensure short-term lets are safe and the people providing them are suitable – we want short term lets to continue making a positive impact on Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies while meeting the needs of local communities.”
She continued: “Short-term lets can offer people a flexible travel option, however we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hotspots, high numbers of lets can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in.
“We appreciate the input from tourism bodies, local government, community organisations and others in reaching this point, and look forward to delivering a short-term lets licensing scheme that works for Scotland.”
The new legislation is subject to approval by MSPs.
The rules allowing councils to establish short-term let control areas and manage numbers of short-term lets came into force in April this year.
The Scottish Government has published a report on the third public consultation and a revised Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment. It will now reconvene the stakeholder working group to finalise guidance for the licensing scheme, to be published early in 2022.
UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson commented: “Many hospitality businesses continue to report challenges in finding accommodation for workers, particularly in rural areas – it may be that licensing the short-term lets market can help to rebalance short- and long-term rentals in our fragile communities.
“Creating a level playing field on tax has also been an important part of our conversation with the Scottish Government.
”At a time when hospitality businesses continue to face into an extreme financial headwind, it is helpful that the Scottish Government has also pledged to review the tax treatment of short-term lets to ensure all of these businesses make an appropriate tax contribution.”
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