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Updates to Scotland's short-term lets licensing scheme approved Published Date: 30/06/2024

MSPs have backed a range of technical updates to the short-term lets licensing scheme in response to engagement with accommodation operators.

Licensing was introduced in 2022 to provide assurance to guests on safety and quality, such as gas and electrical safety compliance and the suitability of hosts.

The regulations passed by the Scottish Parliament enable:

  • Licences to be transferred to a new host, such as when accommodation is sold
  • Prospective hosts building a new short-term let to apply for a provisional licence before construction is complete
  • Hosts to apply for a maximum of three licence exemptions totalling six weeks in a calendar year

Minister for Housing Paul McLennan said:

“Short-term let accommodation is vital to Scotland’s tourism sector and wider economy.

“The short-term lets licensing scheme aims to protect the reputation of responsible operators and ensure the sector is regulated in line with other accommodation such as hotels and caravan parks, giving guests assurance of consistent safety standards. The technical updates to the scheme passed by Parliament were introduced in response to engagement with short-term let operators and the wider tourism industry.

“This will ensure the scheme continues to deliver quality and safety assurance for guests, whilst protecting the needs of local communities.”

CEO of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association Andy Fenner said:

"Scotland’s holiday let industry brings in revenue for all kinds of businesses in communities not served by traditional hospitality, and makes the country an attractive destination for the millions of overseas visitors that come every year.

“Improvements, such as the ability to transfer licences and greater flexibility around temporary exemptions should assist in providing more certainty to those who rely on income from tourism. We have been working with the Scottish Government on these changes over the past year and appreciate its collaborative and pragmatic approach to addressing feedback. We are encouraged by the Government’s commitment to addressing other issues related to the scheme and look forward to working together on identifying further improvements which will boost the competitiveness of our sector in Scotland.”


Short-term lets regulations | Scottish Parliament Website

The changes result from planned monitoring of the implementation of short-term let licensing in Scotland, which was announced in 2023.

The changes mean that hosts will be apply to apply for a maximum of three temporary exemptions to the licensing scheme in a calendar year (with a combined total of no more than six weeks). There are also technical clarifications to exclude foster care and guest rooms in certain residential accommodation from licensing requirements.