Short term let legislation

Joanna Millar L Blue website

On 19th January 2022, Scottish Government MSP’s voted 68 to 53 to support short-term let licensing. The licensing of short term lets has been a very contentious issue since the first consultation in 2019.   In April 2019, the Scottish Government opened a public consultation and commissioned research into the impact of short-term lets on people and communities.  Since then there have been numerous consultations and two versions proposed of the SSI, the second version of which was approved today. The legislation means local authorities in Scotland must put in place their short term let licensing scheme and open that to applications no later than 1 October 2022.  Short term let hosts and operators will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence. All short-term let properties will require a licence by July 2024.

This legislation was opposed by the majority of the trade bodies representing short term let operators such as the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), Airbnb, the Scottish B&B Association and the UK Short Term Accommodation Association, all of whom were members of the Scottish Government’s Working Group and left in August 2021 because they felt their concerns about the introduction of the legislation in its proposed form were not being taken seriously. An amendment to the licensing scheme was proposed by the ASSC in the form of a registration scheme where, if operators did not register they would then have to apply for a licence.  This was dismissed by the Scottish Government despite support from trade bodies and some MSP’s.

The legislation is technical in that it is not completely new law (called primary legislation).  Instead it is a Scottish statutory instrument (called secondary legislation) amending current licensing legislation, the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 which already governs ‘general’ licensing in Scotland – such as taxi licences, public entertainment licences, second hand dealers and similar.  It also deals with how these licence applications are lodged, considered, granted or refused, and appealed.

For more information on the new legislation or how to apply for a short term let licence contact our Jo Millar on or on 0141 370 8116.

Sign up to our News & Insights!