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13/07/2020

Short-Term Lets: Covid-19 and Regulation

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning wrote to the James Dornan MSP, Convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee on 10th July regarding the ongoing regulation of short-term lets.

“I am writing to explain the Scottish Government’s approach to short-term lets in the context of the resumption of Scottish tourism as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic; and also to set out the next steps in progressing the measures which I announced to the Scottish Parliament on 8 January.

COVID-19

I am aware of concerns expressed by members and others around the re-opening of self- catering holiday accommodation with a shared entrance or communal stair on 15 July.

From 3 July, self-catering holiday accommodation has been able to reopen, providing there are no shared facilities between households. Shared facilities means any internal space which is used by more than one household, including kitchens, bathrooms, other living areas and shared hallways. Self-catering holiday accommodation opening before 15 July must be accessible without entering or moving across communal areas. For the avoidance of doubt, flats and tenements only accessible through communal stairs and passages should not be let as holiday accommodation until 15 July. From 15 July, self-catering holiday accommodation with shared facilities can reopen, in line with the resumption of Scottish tourism more widely.

Our approach to coming out of lockdown is guided by the medical and scientific advice. At present, there are no grounds for delaying the reopening of self-catering accommodation with shared facilities beyond 15 July. I understand the concerns of Edinburgh residents in tenements, and others with shared facilities, but we have to be guided by the medical and scientific advice.

Scottish Ministers, special advisers and the Permanent Secretary are covered by the terms of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016. See www.lobbying.scot

Proposals for regulation

Having paused work on the regulation of short-term lets to deal with the pandemic, we have now resumed our work on the measures that I announced on 8 January. You will recall that I announced proposals:

  • to establish a licencing scheme for short-term lets using powers under the Civil Government (Scotland) Act 1982;
  • to prioritise work to give local authorities the power to introduce short-term let control areas under powers in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019; and
  • to carefully and urgently review the tax treatment of short-term lets, to ensure they make an appropriate contribution to local communities and support local services.

We aim to lay the regulations giving local authorities powers to license short-term lets and introduce control areas in December so that they can be in force by spring 2021. As part of preparation to do this, we will be engaging stakeholders on our detailed proposals in autumn. The delay caused by COVID-19 necessitates that this will be a shorter period of engagement than originally planned but we will make sure that the process is effective in refining our proposals and finalising the statutory instruments.

I hope the Committee will find this information helpful.”

The ASSC will engage with the Short-Term Let Delivery Group over the coming weeks.

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