Launch of consultation on licensing order for short term lets
Consultation on the details of a licensing scheme for short term lets will take place over seven weeks this summer.
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison has announced the publication of a draft licensing order for consultation, ahead of laying the final legislation at the Scottish Parliament in September.
The licensing scheme for short-term lets is to be established using powers under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, and to give local authorities the ability to introduce short-term let control areas under powers in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019.
Stakeholders will now have until 13 August to comment on the licensing order and the draft business and regulatory impact assessment.
Draft guidance documents have also been published to explain how the legislation would work in practice.
The production of the draft guidance and Licensing Order was assisted by input from the Stakeholder working group which included representation from Environmental Health Officers.
Ms Robison said: “Regulation of short term lets is vital if we are to balance the needs and concerns of our communities with wider economic and tourism interests.
“Short-term lets can offer people a flexible and cheaper travel option and have contributed positively to our 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 can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in.
“By allowing local authorities appropriate regulatory powers through a licensing scheme, we can ensure that short term lets are safe and address issues faced by local residents and communities.
“It will allow local authorities to understand more fully what is happening in their areas and assist with the effective handling of complaints.”
Under the proposed legislation, local authorities will have until 1 October 2022 to establish a licensing scheme, with all short-term lets to be licensed by 1 April 2024. Existing hosts and operators must apply for a licence by 1 April 2023.
The Scottish Government previously withdrew the Licensing Order from the Scottish Parliament in February. This was to allow for draft guidance to be developed with input from the stakeholder working group.
Ms Robison added: “We want to get this legislation absolutely right. A stakeholder working group was established earlier this year to develop guidance on the licensing scheme that was clear, comprehensive and easy to understand.
“As part of this, the Scottish Government also set out to allay any unfounded concerns and actively explore solutions to any real issues, with a view to making any necessary adjustments to the Licensing Order.
“Stakeholder working group members have helpfully made a range of suggestions for adjustments to the Licensing Order, as well as providing very significant contributions to drafting the guidance.”
The consultation paper on draft licensing legislation for short-term lets in Scotland and supporting documents can be found here. The consultation runs to Friday 13 August 2021.
Information about the stakeholder working group remit, membership including representation from Environmental Health Officers and meetings can be found here: Short-Term Lets Stakeholder Working Group - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).