Short-term lets licensing scheme temporarily delayed due to over 1000 consultation responses

General News

SLE has recently received a letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison, setting out the Scottish Government’s next steps for its short-term licensing scheme proposals. We have included a copy of the letter here.

The Cabinet Secretary advised that the Scottish Government plans to delay the laying down of the licensing order from next month to November 2021 and this is primarily due to the overwhelming interest in the matter, with over 1,000 responses submitted through the formal consultation process which closed on 13 August deadline. We wish to thank all SLE members who submitted their views to the consultation, as well as those who continue to directly raise their concerns with their MSPs, many of whom have already responded and shared their own concerns in relation to the Scottish Government’s current proposals.

While SLE welcomes the delay for the Scottish Government to fully consider the consultation responses and embark on further stakeholder engagement, two months is far from enough time for them to understand and adequately appreciate the wider-scale impact that such fundamental changes will have for businesses across rural Scotland. These proposals will not only hit short-term let providers hard but also the interlinked local businesses which rely so heavily on the contribution of tourists and seasonal workers.

The letter states that local authorities will have until 1 October 2022 to establish a licensing scheme and existing hosts will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a license.

Despite the recent resignations of Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, Airbnb, the Scottish B&B Association, and the UK Short Term Accommodation Association from the Stakeholder Working Group (of which SLE remains a member), the Scottish Government seems intent on pursuing a licensing scheme which, in its current form, will lead to excessive bureaucracy and spiralling costs for short-term let providers.

SLE has remained at the working group table because we want to be part of a positive solution which works for all parties. However, we continue to have serious concerns about current plans for a one size fits all approach which fails to reflect the needs of rural communities and could lead to mass closures of short-term accommodation.

We will continue to drive forward our views on this issue and the potential impact upon our members whilst keeping you updated on developments.