“In addition, we have identified, and will be seeking counsel’s opinion on the order in its present form being ultra vires of the powers under which it purports to be made.”
Under the proposals, local authorities would be able to decide whether a short-term let was suitable based on density, residential amenity and housing shortages in the area.
Pam Gosal MSP says plans to regulate the short-term letting industry in Scotland are “tantamount to going after a fly with a bazooka”
Plans for a licensing scheme for short-term lets in Scotland are not “fit for purpose” and will have a devastating impact on the country’s agritourism sector unless there are significant changes, according to Scottish Land & Estates (SLE).
In response to the Scottish Government consultation on a licensing scheme for short-term lets, which includes glamping sites, B&Bs and holiday cottages, SLaE have reiterated its major concern that these proposals have been shaped with mainly urban hot spot areas in mind and fails to take into account the important role short-term lets play across rural Scotland by providing housing for communities and workers, as well as bringing in vital tourism.
New licensing laws being proposed for short-term let housing could have a devastating impact on Scotland’s rural communities at a time when people are reeling from the wide-scale impacts of Covid-19, according to Scottish Land & Estates (SLE).
It said that glamping sites, B&Bs and holiday cottages – key part of the nation’s infant Agritourism sector – would all fall under the same legislation which had been drawn up to address problems in urban hot spot.
Scottish Land & Estates, which represents rural businesses and landowners, says there is widespread concern over the “one size fits all” approach proposed by government.
The consultation process is potentially in breach of Scottish Government’s own best practice guidelines in terms of transparency, accountability, proportionality, and consistency
On Wednesday August 11, council chiefs looking to combat antisocial behaviour, housing shortages and gentrification took their first step towards a crackdown on Airbnbs and other short term lets by launching a consultation with residents on a suggested ‘control zone’.
Fiona Campbell, chief executive officer of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, says ‘communities are being hoodwinked’ into believing regulation will solve these problems.
First mooted in January 2020, the Scottish Government dropped the planned legislation in February this year. Tourism and business leaders say the revived proposals are worse.
The move left homeowners furious as they claimed they were acting as scapegoats for the government’s poor housing policy.
‘All the organisations involved in the walk-out have been responsible, willing, and positive parties to the discussions, providing key industry insight and evidence-based analysis, but have been met with obtuse responses and a reluctance to engage, the latest of which represents the final straw for the industry.’
Edinburgh has one of the lowest proportions of social housing in Scotland, with only 14% of homes in Edinburgh being social housing, compared to a Scottish average of 23%. Owner occupier is the most prevalent tenure in Edinburgh, with 59% of homes in this category and 25% private rented homes in Edinburgh, compared to a Scottish average of 14%.
Ms Campbell said: “Edinburgh Council’s draft proposals for a short-term let control zone covering the entire city are wholly disproportionate and lack an empirical evidence base to substantiate claims that such accommodation has reduced housing stock.
In response to the Scottish Government consultation on a licensing scheme for short-term lets, which includes glamping sites, B&Bs and holiday cottages, SLE reiterated its major concern that these proposals have been shaped with mainly urban hot spot areas in mind and fails to take into account the important role short-term lets play across rural Scotland by providing housing for communities and workers, as well as bringing in vital tourism.
Chief executive of of the Argyll and Isles Tourism Co-operative (AITC), Cathy Craig said: “Getting a proportionate amount of registration and legislation in place that allows visitors to have a safe visit but also enables business to do business and to bring that spend into Scotland… that is an issue that needs to be resolved. Making it really difficult for businesses to actually do business by having too much regulation is quite challenging, particularly for small businesses.”
She added: “The industry feels it is not being listened to, and its concerns are not being addressed. They are not against registration…it is the degree to which those businesses need to be regulated that is causing hardship. It is hardship because these businesses, some of them, have not been able to trade for as long as 18 months now.” 10/08/21
Agritourism entrepreneur, Caroline Millar agreed that the threat to the sector was huge – and in direct contrast to the encouragement being offered by other sectors of the Scottish Government:
“For this to be happening when so many businesses are likely to need between five and ten years to recover from the shutdown over the Covid pandemic could lead to a dramatic collapse in both confidence and investment in the sector just as it is beginning to take off.”, 05/08/21
“Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, called the group “nothing but a sham” and accused the Scottish Government of having “shifted the goalposts” and acted with “cavalier disregard and indifference” to the sector’s concerns and ideas.”, 05/08/21
Nearly half of self-catering operators are expected to leave the sector should the plans come into force, thereby jeopardising the recovery of Scottish tourism from the pandemic, 05/08/21
Conservative business and enterprise spokesperson, Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP, said: “It is utterly shocking how the SNP Government has managed to leave these representatives feeling ignored and disregarded following talks that were set up with the sole purpose of addressing their concerns. 05/08/21
All the organisations involved in the walk-out have been responsible, willing, and positive parties to the discussions, providing key industry insight and evidence-based analysis, but have been met with obtuse responses and a reluctance to engage, the latest of which represents the final straw for the industry. 05/08/21
“We have been frustrated at every turn and it will be Scottish B&Bs that suffer if we continue to take part in what has become nothing but a charade,” Chairman of the Scottish B&B Association said. “Our members expect us to act in their best interests, and in the interests of the broader tourism sector, and it has been made abundantly clear that neither the working group nor the Scottish government are interested in that type of dialogue.” 05/08/21
Further, they have accused the government, which is now on its third consultation on short-term lets in four years, of acting with “cavalier disregard and indifference” towards the sector’s concerns about the impending restrictive licensing scheme and of ignoring their proposals for a more workable, proportionate and cost-effective mandatory programme of registration, 04/08/21
Mr Whittle said: “Considering they ditched the same idea just before the election, the decision to resurrect these plans, just as we’re beginning to see a route to recovery from the pandemic, is baffling. Small hospitality businesses are a vital part of our tourism sector but instead of supporting them to recover, this will do the opposite.”, 01/08/21