Short-term lets - a balancing act

Marcelina Hamiltion ,
12 Jul 2019

Marcelina Hamilton is Scottish Land & Estate’s policy advisor for rural business and property. Here she explains why it’s important to get the balance right for any new regulations introduced to the short-term lets sector.

The short-term lets sector is a vital part of the rural economy, proving accommodation for tourists and bringing money directly into small and medium sized local businesses, particularly in rural areas. 

The short-term rental sector supports 15,000 jobs in Scotland and generates £723 million of economic activity according to research by Frontline.

However, over the past few years the short-term rental sector has come under an increasing amount of criticism both in the media and in politics. 

There are concerns surrounding short-term rentals and their impact on housing supplies and anti-social behaviour. Naturally, a lot of this criticism is focused on urban areas and may not seem to apply to rural areas. However, any regulations that are brought in will affect short-term rentals in rural areas as well as cities, and therefore Scottish Land & Estates will respond to consultations and work with the Scottish Government to ensure that any regulations do not unfairly impact rural businesses. 

Tourism and the needs of the local community must be balanced and that’s why Scottish Land & Estates does support some regulation of the short-term rental sector. 

The Scottish government has released a consultation on a potential regulatory framework for short-term lets in Scotland. Their initial proposal outlines different levels of regulation. Level one is the introduction of a registration scheme and level two is a licensing scheme. SLE supports the introduction of a registration scheme as this will provide accurate data allowing local authorities to carry out appropriate actions and will be required should a tourist tax be introduced. We also support the principal of a licensing scheme but feel it should only be applied to arears where there are demonstrable issues such as ‘Rent Pressure Zones.’ 

The Scottish Government’s consultation on short-term lets closes on 19th July. I am working with colleagues to prepare a response. I would urge any SLE members who could be affected to respond. You do not need to answer all the questions, just those which you feel you can offer your own personal insight and experience. 

Your responses to the consultation could help ensure that addressing any negative aspects of short-term lets are balanced with the requirements of rural Scotland’s thriving tourism sector.

You can respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation on short-term lets on their website