In the consultation report, the Scottish Government state that 20 local authority or other public sector organisations responded to the consultation. Public sector organisations would include the likes of Police Scotland, SOLAR and ALACHO. It is interesting to note that COSLA did not provide a submission.
Looking at local councils only, the individual responses (12) included:
“Issue – The Council is required to maintain a public register of STL licences and provide quarterly returns to the Scottish Government. There is no suggestion of a national STL register akin to Landlord Registration therefore every Council must develop its own IT system. Resolution – We are of the opinion that the Scottish Government should develop a national STL register which Councils can feed into.”
Resourcing/Fees/Start Up Costs
“We believe that we will be deluged with neighbour objections when the applications start arriving which will result in a much bigger Licensing Committee agenda with all the associated work and costs involved to take an application before Committee. Accordingly, we believe that if the BRIA remains unchanged, it will present difficulties/resentment when the Council opens its licensing scheme for applications and applicants must inevitably pay larger fees than shown in the table of indicative fees. Resolution – We believe that Section F should be completely revised to present a realistic picture of the challenges Councils are likely to face.”
“Issue – Given that Short Term Lets licensing is a wholly new activity, all Councils must design and implement policies & procedures, introduce IT systems, recruit additional staff, etc, prior to their ‘go-live’ dates. The costs involved will be considerable with no income until applications start arriving and there is no indication that the Scottish Government will make Grants available to Councils to cover the start-up costs. Resolution – We believe that the Scottish Government should provide Councils with start-up finance, thereafter the licensing activity should be self-financing.”
“…the indicative fees are unhelpful as they provide an unfair baseline upon which final fees may be compared against. No reference is made to include apportionment of start-up costs for a very complex licensing regime as these will require to be recovered in the initial licensing period.”
Resourcing/Start Up Costs
“…The start-up costs for local authorities in establishing all the components of the licensing regime including additional resource, costs associated with implementing new or developing existing ICT systems and general licensing and planning processes/policies are considerable. It will be difficult to recover these from licensing fees where preparatory works and applications received are may be made over 2 financial years. Consideration should be given to financing local authorities to offset start-up costs, in the way as the Scottish Government provided for the private property owner registration scheme.”
“…The scheme will introduce new costs to businesses and the impact to the local economy as not clear from the BRIA. Covid will also have an impact as businesses seek to recover in difficult economic circumstances. This requires further assessment…”
“…the indicative fees do appear to be low and it is likely that the application fees, in Edinburgh’s case, will be more similar to those for HMO licences.”
“As a smaller mainland local authority with very low levels of short-term lets we are still concerned whether the volume of resources that will be required to set up and operate a full licensing scheme is proportionate…we are still concerned that the differences in size and geography, and therefore operating costs, are likely to result in a disparity in the fee levels being set across the country and how this may impact STL levels.”
“[We are] concerned about balancing our licensing and planning duties for guests and communities against the ongoing concerns raised amongst the STL and tourism industries within the National Performance Framework objectives.”
“It is not helpful for the paper to set out average indicative fees for licences, even allowing for 2 different scenarios. The fees set out are incredibly low, and could be even lower once all the possible discounts are factored in. The total fees for the scheme are supposed to meet the costs of the scheme and it is clear from the BRIA that the fees can include the costs of establishing as well as running the scheme.
The costs of setting up new teams and new processes, possibly buying new IT packages, will be considerable and will have to be spent ahead of any fee income coming in. LA’s won’t know the level of applications expected so it will be difficult to set fees at a level that will meet the costs.
This section of the BRIA should be more realistic and not give a false hope to applicants of low fees, as the scheme can be compared to the HMO licensing scheme, then fees are likely to be more realistic if that table at Appendix B on page 52 is used as indictive fees. This would range from £167 (renewal fee in Midlothian) through to £1906 (initial fee in Glasgow)
It is also of note that the vast majority of LAs recognise that there is no cost saving to the Council in a party renewing their application, with only 13 LAs listed charging a reduced fee for renewal applications. When LAs make a more realistic costing of their fees which will be significantly higher than the average indicative fees, it will be the LAs who receive complaints and will be inundated with queries and complaints regarding the discrepancy between the figures quoted. It appears that many costs have not been factored into the calculation including enforcement work outlined in paragraph 152.”
“The Council wish to highlight the significant resource implications the Licensing Order will have for the Highland Council:
• Impact on officer time and resources – With approximately 10,000 premises that this will affect in the Highlands, officers will not only be required to implement policies and guidance but also carry out site visits and monitor compliance and enforcement.
• Impact on committee time and resources – there may be an increase in the potential applications before the committee as a result of objections made or lack of information provided by the applicant in respect of their application.”
North Ayrshire Council
This submission does not appear to have been uploaded on the SG website.
“There is a wide discrepancy in terms of potential costs involved in the operation of the proposed Licensing Scheme. The Scottish Government has quoted indicative application fee costs of around £223-£377 while other predictions are as high as £1200-£1500. These discrepancies threaten the fragile recovery of Scottish tourism and demand further work to be undertaken on the actual position.”
“At a time when the industry is trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic, the imposition of costs of this nature will have a disastrous effect on the self-catering industry (one that brings over £720million to the Scottish economy) and lead to a lack of capacity for our tourism industry and the significant loss of jobs.”
“We believe that the ASSC proposed registration scheme with mandatory health and safety certification for all short-term lets, which has cross-industry support, would meet the stated objectives of the Scottish Government and be far less onerous, burdensome and costly to the industry. Together with proper development of the Planning legislation in relation to short term let control areas, a registration scheme will satisfactorily cover the needs and concerns of our communities and protect the interests of tourism and the local economy.”
“…we note the proposed requirement that local authorities must be satisfied that the Mandatory Conditions will be able to be met by the licence holder prior to granting a licence. We are not persuaded that this requirement is necessary and note that this is not a specific requirement in other similar licensing regimes such as HMO licensing (only that a property is suitable as an HMO). Currently, our HMO licensing process in Renfrewshire involves inspection of the properties to be licensed, but thereafter, as with all other local authority licensing regimes, compliance with mandatory and other licensing conditions is a matter for monitoring and enforcement.
We are very concerned that, particularly when taken together with the 9 month determination period referred to above which will apply after the initial transition period, this additional requirement regarding Mandatory Conditions will require considerable resources to be allocated to short term lets licensing. We have experienced considerable difficulties in relation to landlord registration applications since the introduction of the Private Landlord Registration (Information) (Scotland) Regulations 2019, which relate to broadly similar safety issues as a number of the Mandatory Conditions. Due to the extent of these difficulties, a report is being taken to our Regulatory Functions Board (which is in effect our Council’s licensing committee) very shortly. We anticipate that, based on the proposed checks involved, fees for short term lets may require to be comparable to HMO licence fees to ensure that the cost of operating the short term lets licensing regime can be recovered, as with other licensing regimes under the 1982 Act.”
“No comment other than to state that it seems an unnecessary [sic] burden for both the LA and business owner in some LA areas where there is no problem in the first place and a lack of resources to set up and manage such a licensing scheme. This authority have had one complaint about a secondary letting property and one about a B&B in the last 20 years.”
This council raised concerns over the temporary exemptions, as well as overprovision and notification, the latter of which have been dealt with by the Scottish Government.
“The SG is clear that it is up to Councils to set fees and that these should cover costs, however it’s less clear that the overall approach allows fees and charges to cover routine verification and monitoring, if these costs are not specifically allowed for it is likely that councils will struggle to properly resource this work In aiddiont [sic] the fee examples provided in the paper could be misleading, it would be better simply to state that fees will be set locally based on the cost of the scheme. There certainly seems no basis for thinking that fees under this scheme will be lower than those for HMO licences.”
“In light of the fact that local authorities will have 12 months to respond to applications, could there be consideration given to extending the timescales for submission of objections or representations. The predicted influx of applications will also present challenges in terms of police processing.”
“As we have indicated previously, there are significant implications arising from these timescales for the licensing authorities. We are concerned with the internal resourcing that will be required and if that provides sufficient time. Some reassurance should be sought to confirm support for these timescales on the proposed implementation.”
“Duplication of mandatory conditions: We have concerns about the duplication of conditions under the separate planning and licensing regimes. We predict that this is also going to cause other issues in respect of building standards and fire safety. This may go onto to have implications for different Local Authorities if they provide for or require different standards of evidence etc. for the mandatory conditions. Compliance may vary – which makes it difficult for those operating across different local authority regions.”
Economic Impact/Regulatory Balance
“The draft Order seeks to establish a licensing scheme to ensure short-term lets are safe and address issues faced by neighbours and to facilitate local authorities in knowing and understanding what is happening in their area and handling complaints effectively. We agree that this is the main purpose of the inclusion of licensing, but we have concerns over several the terms of the draft Order as highlighted above. If the requirements on those seeking to let their property are too onerous or expensive, then they will be deterred from operating short term lets which is not the purpose in providing for a licensing scheme. It is important to maintain or indeed achieve that balance.
There are concerns in bringing in this system as a Scotland wide policy that this will adversely affect rural areas and the availability of short- term lets. For instance, the effect/financial impact on the small-time individual lessor, who perhaps uses an old family home very occasionally for a holiday let, will be disproportionally far greater than on a commercial business whose raison d’etre is the letting of properties on a short-term basis.”
“RTPI Scotland would like to reiterate concerns previously expressed in consultation responses on proposed Short-term Let regulations regarding resources. The new proposed provisions will place a significant burden on planning departments resulting from the gathering evidence of local characteristics and impact, the processing of more planning applications, the submission of more appeal statements, the handling of more complaints from the public and undertaking more enforcement action.”
NB: This submission makes comments in respect of the BRIA on planning control areas rather than licensing.
TOURISM AND BUSINESS
We believe that, as drafted, the legislation will provide a disincentive for long term investment in quality and a decline in the ability of businesses to borrow to support such investment. This will have a knock on effect to the supply chain (local builders, joiners, electricians etc) and therefore have a negative economic impact on the communities the legislation is setting out to protect.
Legislation must give businesses long term security of tenure to enable long term investment for the benefit of our economy and communities who rely on it.
Scotland Outlook 2030 has an ambitious vision of being a ‘world leader in 21st century tourism’ and a mission of growing ‘value and positively enhance the benefits of tourism across Scotland by delivering the very best for our visitors, our businesses, our people, our communities and our environment.’ We will not achieve that if we choke private sector investment and we believe this needs to be addressed in the final legislation.”
“Many operators within the Cairngorms (B&B and Self Catering) are very small businesses. Many have been operating professionally and successfully for many many years, they are part of the community they support. The bureaucratic burden and cost of evidencing there proven track record will be disproportionately borne by these smaller professional operators and will result in many withdrawing from the market causing economic contraction and damaging our communities.”
“Shrinking our economy cannot be the answer to resolving this challenge and we believe that this legislation and thoughts of reallocating existing housing stock should be decoupled from this conversation.”
Economic Impact/Regulatory Balance
“FSB believes that the licensing order does not strike the correct balance between the proposed social benefits and the economic and tourism costs that will be incurred by small businesses caught within the scope of a licensing scheme and a planning control scheme.”
“FSB would challenge the statement that “local authorities will not want to overregulate the sector” and that they will “use their new powers to find the right balance between the interests of local residents and communities and their wider tourism economy.” While this may be true in local economies less reliant on tourism, it is unlikely to be the case in areas with buoyant and dynamic visitor economies. In areas such as Edinburgh, for instance, the policy intent is explicit: to reduce the number of short-term lets via a licensing scheme and a control area.”
“It is our view that longer license periods are essential to provide stability and certainty in what is a new form of regulation. In this light, we would further argue that enabling licensing authorities to “grant licenses for different time periods to different applicants” will cause unnecessary complication for business owners applying for a license.”
“…licensing schemes and control areas will create a less competitive and dynamic business environment for FSB members in the self-catering and B&B sectors. Indeed, there is a possibility that the licensing and control schemes lead to businesses leaving the sector and consequently reduce the accommodation capacity in visitor hot spots. FSB questions the economic benefits that could emerge from the introduction of a licensing scheme, as highlighted in the BRIA. Certainly, it is our conclusion that such a scheme could decrease demand given many small businesses may increase costs to recoup the incurred regulatory costs…It is our view that the government is making questionable assumptions regarding the ability of hosts to absorb the c£12m cost for businesses to comply with the scheme over a three-year period – or indeed the planning fees that businesses will have to absorb for operating in control areas.”
“Regarding fees we would recommend that the government do not enable local authorities to determine their own fees and fee structures. As the BRIA notes, there will be significant variation in the fees for licenses for short-term lets across Scotland – which will disproportionately impact those small businesses based in high-fee areas. This, it should be added, is already the case across operational civic licensing schemes…Therefore, we would argue that setting national fee parameters would help remove some of the uncertainty that many FSB members in the accommodation sector are currently experiencing.”
Heart of Sutherland Tourism
“I understand there are issues in specific areas of Scotland regarding the use of unregulated short term let facilities ,and the issues this can cause to both to other local residents and to the amount of housing stock that is available to buy. For many years I have felt there is a need to have a registration scheme so that the number of these properties in an area could be known and that there could be minimum standards set so that tourists can be sure of what to expect from their accommodation.
However, much of this could be achieved at a local level without a blanket one size fits all policy that is currently being planned.”
“I am horrified that the Scottish Government seemed to come up with even more draconian measures which will have: a serious financial impact on businesses that are already struggling due to the effects of covid, will place an impossible workload on local councils, will force many small accommodation providers to close and put a strain on the existing tourist provision already struggling with the increased staycation market. The current popularity of the Highlands will only continue into the future with the addition of the return of our overseas guests and a reduction in accommodation is the last thing we need.”
“Increased bureaucracy and hassle: disproportionately affecting small business owners who are the backbone of Scotland’s tourist economy. Highland Council is already stretched and this will put an increased burden onto them . Many councils will need to recoup their costs , with some independent estimates putting the true cost of licences between £1-£1,500 ( not the £200-£300 currently being stated) which will put it out of reach of many small operators. For instance one of our members owns a small bothy style accommodation which she rents to walkers /cyclists for £20 a night , they are both pensioners on reduced pensions and they use this to supplement their income. A fee of £1,500 would make it impossible for them to operate , and cause
them hardship and they have already stated they will have to close.”
“Unknown and open-ended licensing costs, realistically estimated as £1500k plus despite what, without evidence, the consultation suggests. Councils have to recover their costs from the scheme and operators will face additionally paying the Council for inspections which does not happen with other licensing regimes. Many councils may see this as a cash making exercise and it will be accommodation providers that will suffer.”
“…there is no accurate estimate of the number of short term lets in Scotland. Both operators and local authorities may therefore been unprepared for the scale of the change required. One solution may be for local authorities where short term lets are considered to be a particular issue to take the lead on piloting the new scheme before it is rolled out across Scotland.
Secondly, the focus in gathering evidence has been on areas where there is a particular concentration of short term lets. These areas may not reflect short term let usage in wider Scotland, in particular the use of short term lets in rural and sparsely populated regions. Again, an initial focus on areas where there are particular concerns, ahead of a wider rollout, may be the way forward.”
“The Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment is hampered by having no baseline of activity (the number, type and location of short term lets), nor of what the likely administrative burden and cost will be for operators and local authorities. To avoid unintended impacts, the licensing scheme could be piloted in local authority areas where there are particular concerns about the operation of short term lets, with lessons learned before any wider roll-out of the scheme.”
“NFUS has concerns that there is confusion at a policy level in relation to Airbnb and its impacts in central Edinburgh and professionally offered self-catering accommodation as found on farms. NFUS is aware that Scottish Government convened a short-term working group to work to address concerns regarding the previous proposals on licensing. NFUS has serious concerns that the issues raised by this group do not appear to have been addressed…NFUS is of the view that Scottish Government should not proceed with the licensing scheme as proposed in the consultation. A lighter touch registration scheme should be available for registered types of accommodation to reduce the impact on professional short-term accommodation such as that provided on farms.”
“…the proposals will impact most farm diversifications due to the scope of what is proposed. Registered types of accommodation should be excluded from any licensing-making the distinction between professional business letting and amateur accommodation types-which have been the cause of such debate.”
“…the fees noted in the BRIA seem very low and NFUS has concerns that this will not refelct [sic] the true cost. Clarity is required over this so that those offering short term accommodation can plan and make an informed choice about the future of their business.”
“Our main concern is the potential for negative economic impact on the tourism sector, which is a key industry in the Highlands & Islands. This is an even greater risk after the damage done by COVID.”
“There are no transitional arrangements for existing operators who are unsuccessful in obtaining a licence. This could result in long-standing businesses being closed overnight, with the loss of economic benefit and jobs. It seems extreme for a government to force an existing business to close if it meets all the quality standards that have been asked of it, on the basis that there is too much supply. SOLUTION: Some kind of grandfathering should be included. This could be an acceptance that existing operators who meet the other requirements in the order, will be granted a licence on an ongoing basis or for a period of time.”
“The Order in its current form has the potential to have a significant negative impact on tourism, which is a key industry in the Western Isles, like most of the Highlands & Islands. The scheme is being introduced to address concerns about standards, address nuisance issuers from accommodation and address the housing shortage. The first two of these seem largely a problem in urban areas, yet the scheme is national. We will all agree that the housing situation in the Highlands & Islands is extremely worrying, but we are concerned that the current proposals will do little to increase the stock of affordable rented housing. It is likely to reduce economic activity due to reduced activity on the islands in an existing key industry (tourism) and potentially impact populations levels, as tourism is an important source of income supplement for people in primary industries and other roles. It is unclear if it will unlock additional housing stock and whether that housing stock will promote economic activity to compensate for the reduction in tourism.”
“It seems strange to introduce legislation that adds to the financial and operating burdens of a key industry at a time when that industry has incurred major damage from COVID-19 and when the country is focusing on economic recovery. Tourism is unlikely to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023 and then it will take time to repair the damage caused during closures during lockdowns, but the legislation starts from the 2024 season.”
“This scheme Imposes uneven regulation across the industry, applying the strictest regulation to the small end of the industry, while leaving larger operators with less rigorous licensing (e.g. hotel licensing will operate through alcohol licensing, and not deal with room safety which seems strange). We do not have the challenge of the large cities of people building portfolios of short-term lets.”
“Scottish Agritourism would like the Scottish Government to exclude registered accommodation from licensing, with a register being developed and managed by Visit Scotland, as proposed by ASSC.”
“There is limited evidence that licensing accommodation would help the housing crisis in Scotland. The majority of accommodation on Scottish farms for example offered to tourists are lodges built specifically for the tourism market, glamping pods and other quirky tourist accommodation, not the type of accommodaion [sic] you would live in long term. There is no evidence that there is a co-relation between short-term lets and the lack of affordable housing.”
“Licensing will undoubately [sic] put new entrants off and may cause some businesses to close down, or at least not wish to invest. This will have a detrimental impact to the economy at a time when we require to recover from Covid…The proposed legislation will impact not only on businesses directly but on associated rural businesses where tourists spend money.”
“This licensing scheme on its own is not the answer to the lack of affordable housing. The Scottish Government needs to allocate the necessary budget to provide affordable housing where it is needed, in rural and urban locations. To imply that licensing short-term lets will alleviate the problem of lack of affordable housing is unfounded.”
“The new licence fee should relate to the size of the establishment and the income generated. Proportionality would be only fair. The Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland suggests that the scheme would have to run on a cost recovery basis and could cost in the region of £1,500-£2,000 per licence. The three-year landlord registration fee for one property is £82, with £15 per additional property. There must be equivalence. If additional works, planning applications and professional fees are included, the likely cost suggested above will be considerable. It will also be a burden on local authorities for their resources and time.”
“SLE agrees that the safety of people using short-term lets is paramount and we also understand there is a need to ensure that homes in which people can live remain available in so-called ‘hot-spot’ areas. In our view all that is needed to achieve this at this time is a simple registration scheme similar to that proposed by the Association of Scottish Self Caterers (ASSC) in 2017 to allow proper enforcement of existing health and safety standards and appropriate planning policy which prioritises housing development for residential use.
In our view, it is clear these current proposals will leave a direct and long-term negative impact of cost and bureaucracy on the short-term lets sector at a time when it is already struggling to cope with the impact of Covid-19. Local authorities, who would be expected to inspect the short-term lets, have similarly raised their concerns regarding the negative impact to their operations in terms of administration and charges, highlighting that the Scottish Government’s estimations for the cost of an inspection is considerably distorted and does not reflect the reality of the task.”
“Across multiple properties the cost of a license fee could potentially reach thousands, if not tens of thousands of pounds. As part of the consultation process, local authorities have already confirmed the Scottish Government’s estimations for licensing (approximately £300 – £500) have been severely underestimated, and in some cases possibly totally in excess of £2,000 for a single three bedroom property. This is totally inappropriate or disproportionate, in particular considering that for SLE members with an existing property this will be a cost associated with unnecessary duplication of work, factors that have not been considered or reported upon as part of the BRIA.”
“It is a widely held view within Scotland’s tourism industry that regulations as proposed by the Scottish Government will have a materially negative impact on the tourism industry as a whole at a time when policymakers should be backing Scottish tourism as we attempt to recover from the pandemic.
It is not in line with the Scottish Government’s commitment to Covid recovery, nor does it align with Scotland’s National Tourism Strategy, ‘Scotland Outlook 2030’ which highlights that supportive policy is one of six conditions for success: ‘The potential contribution that tourism can deliver must be understood and acknowledged with the right policy and regulatory landscape in place to support our vision of 21st century tourism’.
There is no doubt that licensing will have knock-on effects for related industries; if there is a reduction in the number of professional self-catering properties, B&Bs and guest houses will have a material impact on other tourism sectors: visitor attractions, activity providers, restaurants and cafes and the onward supply chain. This demonstrates that the debate around short-term let regulation is multifaceted and complex and could have unintended consequences beyond what many would expect.”
“A large number of our members provide self-catering accommodation. While we are well aware of and as concerned as anyone else about the current housing crises nationwide, we do not feel that this legislation is an appropriate or an effective way of combatting further depletion of the housing stock. Many of our members are providing accommodation within ex-industrial or business premises which have been converted specifically for holiday accommodation. Others have renovated derelict croft house properties which are not large enough to be viable modern family homes. Moreover, in the remotest areas, self-catering accommodation is often the only holiday accommodation available. Without this accommodation other local tourism dependent businesses would not be able to survive, and tourism would cease to be a viable field for economic development, seriously harming what little progress has been made in encouraging repopulation in the remotest areas. For example, on the island of Fetlar there is one small guest house and several small self-catering properties. All of which will be subject to this new licensing scheme. There is also local authority social housing stock on the island, some of which has been vacant for over five years. It is consequently impossible to argue that the self-catering properties there have a prejudicial impact on the availability of affordable housing.”
“All of our members have been hit hard by the pandemic and many are already struggling to survive. Further costs and bureaucracy at this time are entirely inappropriate and will hinder the Scottish Government’s own efforts to support the sector and aid recovery…The licensing scheme in its current format is damaging in the utmost not only for accommodation providers but also for other tourism businesses and consequently for the survival of our island communities at all.”
“There is a lack of clarity on how much the licensing scheme will cost individual businesses. While the Scottish Government estimate sits between £200 and £400 per licence we have spoken to our local authority and other industry bodies who assure us that this will not be a feasible charge for the scheme given that there appears to be no additional allocated funds for covering the local costs of administering the scheme. The most conservative estimate we have found places the potential cost of the scheme, in rural areas where there are fewer businesses to cover these costs, at over £1000 per licence.”
“Our member businesses have just been through the hardest ever 18 months – bookings, income and livelihoods have been severely impacted, many are fighting for their survival with increased debts and there are many more uncertain months to come. But the creation of SSDA and increased investment coming into the region via SOSE is a real positive, and tourism businesses are looking forward to being part of the South’s rural regeneration. We are at a crossroad and have a real opportunity to transform the economic potential of a much-forgotten and overlooked rural part of Scotland.
However, the Short Term Let Licensing in its current form puts that transformation in real jeopardy and is also at risk of undermining the rural economy regeneration work that the Scottish Government are helping facilitate via SOSE and VisitScotland.”
“…we do not believe STL Licensing will solve the issues as set out by the Scottish Government. The sector is being unfairly singled out at a time when they need to be focused on business regeneration and growth.”
“We also do not believe that STL Licensing will solve Scotland’s housing issues, particularly not in rural areas. Furthermore, we believe this is a short-sighted approach from the Scottish Government that does not take into consideration the value that tourism brings into local communities. Our businesses employ housekeepers, gardeners and tradespeople, they keep local laundries in operation, they showcase the best of the region through local products in their welcome hampers. Guests spend money in the local economy, eating and drinking in local pubs and restaurants, taking part in activities and visitor attractions, buying local souvenirs – and we hope that they come back year after year to help us maintain sustainable businesses and growth.
“SSDA would ask that the Scottish Government looks at a simpler registration process, that is fairly and considerately developed by listening properly to the businesses, organisations and local authorities it will impact.”
“To deliver this process via local authorities will offer a lack of parity across the sector. Using the language in the Draft Order in italics, someone in (for example) North Ayrshire could be ‘charged such reasonable fees’ that would differ to a neighbour who sits within East Ayrshire. Who determines what a reasonable fee is? Licence refusal is similarly a concern – who makes the ultimate decisions, and meantime, does the operator continue to take bookings? At present with the staycation market, forward bookings are becoming commonplace – businesses may not be able to honour such bookings if refused a licence (within 21 days), thereby distressing potential guests and appeals for such could be costly.”
“Some form of registration for short term lets would be a good thing moving forward, but to consult on this paper at a time of year when those most affected will hopefully be too busy to respond fully, is inappropriate. Professional operators are potentially being penalised at a time when Scotland’s tourism has suffered hugely as a result of CV-19. To say this will not be introduced until 2023 will be too late a realisation for many. VisitArran would propose the Scottish Government looks at a simpler registration process, delivered online which would be quicker and offer parity for every provider.”
“We simply cannot understand why these proposals are being progressed at a time when tourism throughout Scotland has barely recovered from the impact of COVID-19. We do not believe that the licensing system as proposed is either required or proportionate. It seeks to apply an onerous and administratively complicated solution when a simple registration system would address the (perceived) issue almost at a stroke.”
“Here in Moray Speyside, the impact of such a move would fundamentally hamper our region’s ability and potential to recover from the impact of COVID-19. VMS supports the principle of an appropriate registration scheme for operators, in seeking to ensure the safety and security of visitors – however, the proposals before us are not that. It is plain for all to see that what is required is a simple registration scheme, along the lines of that proposed by the Association of Scottish Self Caterers (ASSC) in 2017 enforcement of existing safety standards and a planning policy which ensure that new housing development is for residential use.”
ANNEX: RESPONDENT ORGANISATIONS
Those highlighted in yellow have been mentioned above. Hyperlinks have been included for organisations not already mentioned but which may be of interest – for instance, the submissions from the likes of UKHospitality, PLACE and Airbnb
Written Question: S6W-04680: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 29/11/2021
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the publication of its consultation report on the draft licensing order and business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) for short-term lets, how many local authorities responded to the consultation exercise and, of those who responded, how many (a) raised no issues with the proposed licensing and (b) highlighted concerns over (i) fees, (ii) resourcing, and (iii) a lack of start-up costs associated with licensing.
Current Status: Expected Answer date 13/12/2021