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25/09/2020

Scottish Government Guidance in Light of New Restrictions

This is the guidance we have received from the Scottish Government.  We will continue to push for a response to the many questions left unanswered.  We have no more information to give you at this time and will not be able to respond to any individual queries by phone or email.  Further updates will be published on the ASSC News Pages.

Limits on households in self catering accommodation

Q: I know that the restrictions on household gatherings have changed from a maximum of 6 people from 2 different households, with children under 12 exempt. Households are no longer to permitted to meet with other households in private homes. How does this affect me as a accommodation provider?

ASelf-catering holiday accommodation is within the definition of a private dwelling  for the purpose of these regulations and from 25 September all types of self-catering accommodation may only be used by a single household (or recognised extended household). The one household per house rule applies to all properties regardless of size and location. The one household rule per self-catering premises is now a legal requirement and every individual must follow the rules.

Q: I run a hotel, guest house, boarding house/bed and breakfast. What does the new regulations mean for me i.e. can two unrelated people (eg travelling workmen) share a twin room?

A: Hotels, guest houses, boarding houses and bed and breakfasts are excluded from the definition of private dwellings, and may continue to accommodate groups of up to six from no more than two households. There should be no sharing of rooms between members of different households, and there must be provision for physical distancing with separate households within a group, as well as between groups. This also applies in byunk houses and other forms of hotel accommodation. There should be no unregulated mixing between households, and any shared space (for example a kitchen/lounge that might previously have operated on a shared basis).

Q: I have self-catering forward bookings, for two households to stay together in my property, what should I do? 

AIt is the responsibility of individuals in the first instance to ensure they are following the rules so those who have made the booking should be in touch to discuss alternatives. If not you should review your bookings and where necessary make contact to discuss alternatives. This may mean a cancellation but may also mean retaining the booking, so only a single household comes, in order to comply with the new rules. You should proactively check forward bookings to avoid difficult situations on arrival if no action has been taken, as it will not be possible to accommodate groups of more than one household (or one extended household). As a business you should ensure your booking system is arranged so that it does not accept bookings that exceed these numbers. A simple step is to ensure staff who are taking calls for bookings are asking the right questions, including – is everyone from not more than 1 household? Businesses should not accept bookings from groups that are clearly exceeding the limit.

Q: Due to the fact that only one household can come my clients now wish to cancel their booking. What should I do?

A: We continue to expect the industry to abide by the standards of good practice we have seen so far through the pandemic, and follow the CMA guidance with regard to refunds, cancellations, and rescheduling. In line with CMA guidance, a full refund should be offered to customers who booked holiday homes but could not stay in them due to lockdown restrictions. The Scottish Government recognises the difficult position that many holiday companies will find themselves in at present. The regulation of consumer protection is the responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster. The Competition and Markets Authority have issued guidance to businesses and consumers about refunds.

Q: My booking is from visitors from England/elsewhere, where the rules are different? Which rules should they abide by? 

A: All families, taking a self-catering holiday in Scotland, whatever their place of origin would have to abide by the one household per house rule.

Q: What if people travelling from Scotland are going to stay in self-catering accommodation in England? 

A: Scottish people going to holiday in England, would fall under English regulations, and this is the case for other UK nations and overseas, however where these rules are different from Scotland consideration, people are urged to think hard about the public health implications, and if travelling outside the UK, the potential quarantine implications.

Q: Can two families stay in adjacent self catering properties?

A: Yes, two families could stay in two adjacent self-catering cottages as these are two houses.

Q: If I have two families arrived yesterday in my self-catering cottage do I need to send them home?

A: If people arrived to self-catering prior to the regulations coming into force, you do not need to send them home immediately if they are two families – just use common sense, and urge them to be careful. All future bookings must comply with regulations.

Q: If I am a self-catering operator and offer to give breakfast, could I then have two households?

A: No, not if this is in one house. It should be one household. This would clearly be a contrivance to circumvent the rules. It is a legal requirement to follow the rules. We expect this to happen and people to be sensible.

Q: I run a yacht charter business. Can I still operate?

A: Any accommodation, regardless of format, that is used to for overnight accommodation on a self-catering basis, is treated as a private dwelling, for the purpose of these regulations, and therefore covered by the one household, to one house rule. This includes boats. You can continue to operate within the one household one house limit.

Read the government guidance

Read more about the definition of a household

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