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Short-Term Let Licensing and Planning Control Areas: What You Need to Know

The Scottish Government has introduced a licensing regime for short-term lets in Scotland. Anyone looking to operate a short-term let for the first time from 1 October 2022 will need a licence before they do so. Those who are already operating short-term lets before 1 October 2022 must apply for a licence by 1 April 2023 if they wish to continue doing so. It will be an offence punishable by a fine for short-term lets granted without a licence.

Every local authority is tasked with setting up a licensing system by 1 October 2022. Existing short-term letting operators should consider the potential planning requirements as well as checking whether their property meets the required licensing standards. For those considering entering the short-term letting market, the additional cost of a licence and potentially planning permission should be taken into account. If buying a property, they should consider what information or evidence the seller might provide to allow short-term letting to continue or indeed begin.

Legislation pertaining to Short-Term Lets:

The Scottish Government has provided guidance:

What is a Short-Term Let?

The providing of residential accommodation by a host to a guest in the course of business and for commercial consideration will be a short-term let for the purposes of the legislation where:

  • the guest does not occupy the property as their main home and they are not an immediate family member of the host; and
  • the guest is not occupying the accommodation principally to facilitate work or services by the guest to the host, or sharing accommodation with the host as part of an educational arrangement.

Three basic types of short-term letting will need a licence:

  1. home sharing – where the host is sharing their home;
  2. home letting – where the host is letting their own home but is absent during the let; and
  3. secondary letting – where the host is letting premises which are not their own home.

A licence for a mixture of home sharing and home letting is also possible. Certain premises are excluded and will not need a licence including purpose-built or converted student accommodation, hotels, licensed premises that provide accommodation and certain aparthotels with at least 5 serviced apartments in one building (there is a specific definition for these). The need for a licence will not apply to these premises and will also not apply when certain tenancies are granted including private residential and social housing tenancies.

How many licences will you need?

The ASSC has received clarity from the Scottish Government regarding the number of licences that will be required per business.

Does a Guest House Require a Licence?

There has been some recent discussion around whether or not Guest Houses are exempt from Short-Term Let Licensing. We have now received the following clarification from the Scottish Government.

The Legal Position of Planning Control Areas

Licensing and Planning – will you need planning permission? Find out more.

A Webinar, in association with Brodies LLP and Houghton Planning Ltd, including how to apply for Planning Permission / Certificate of Lawfulness. Watch the webinar here.


The ASSC has developed a full set of guidance. This is published on the VisitScotland.org website and will be the industry ‘go to guide’ going forwards. Find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions

The substantive Frequently Asked Questions document can be found here: FAQs

Regulation Roadshow videos can be found here.

Final Local Policies

The most recent list of finalised policies can be found here: Final licensing schemes 19.10.22


The most recent finalised fees can be found here: FEES v8

Fire Safety & Risk Assessment Template

As a benefit to members, the ASSC has developed risk assessment templates for both Fire and Legionella. These are for ASSC members only.

Legionella Risk Assessment Template

Trusted Service Providers

We are working with trusted partners who will be able to support operators as they navigate the new Short-Term Let Regulations: SHORT TERM LETS – Trusted Partners List – 16-11-22

Legal Advice

Gilson Gray are offering a tiered service to assist with licence applications. ASSC members benefit from a discount. You can contact Gilson Gray, and subscribe to their website for further information here. Alternatively, contact jmillar@gilsongray.co.uk.

Planning Advice

Contact Houghton Planning: paul@houghtonplanning.co.uk

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