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ASSC Fiona Campbell Comments on Survey Findings: Assessing the Impact of Short-Term Let Licensing in the Self-Catering Sector

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) is committed to providing support for the small accommodation sector during the implementation of short-term let legislation.

To gather valuable insights into the challenges faced by our sector, a snap survey was circulated over a short period of 48 hours. A total of 1,255 businesses responded to this survey, representing a substantial number of businesses, with 55% located in rural to semi-rural areas of Scotland of which communities rely heavily on tourism.

The survey findings underscore the significant impact of short-term let legislation, including its associated costs, uncertainties, business closures that will result if it proceeds in its current form, as well as the personal costs to many operators in Scotland.

Key findings

  • Alarmingly, almost half (46%) of respondents report experiencing new mental health issues, indicating a national crisis. Sadly, this is to be expected when so many jobs and livelihoods are at risk.
  • A staggering 69% have yet to apply for a license.
  • Only 34% of the applied licences have been approved so far, indicating a significant backlog in the approval process.
  • A concerning 61% of respondents are contemplating leaving the sector. Of those, 36% are actively considering leaving, while 25% remain undecided.
  • Astonishingly, 93% of those considering leaving attribute short-term let legislation as a factor, with 56% citing it as the primary reason for their potential exit.
  • In the event that businesses decide to leave the sector, 24% of them plan to sell their properties. 93% of these properties would not be available as affordable housing.

These headline findings were shared with the Minister for Housing Paul McLennan MSP and the Minister for Tourism Richard Lochhead this afternoon during a meeting with the ASSC.

Commenting on the findings, Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Self-Caterers, said:

“These are yet more depressing findings from a beleaguered sector that just wants to get back to doing what it does best – providing memory making experiences to visitors – rather than being hit by a juggernaut of regulations.

The clock is ticking on short-term let licensing and we have repeatedly articulated our outstanding concerns to the Scottish Government. The fact that 61% of self-catering operators are contemplating leaving the sector should concentrate minds to get a regulatory solution in place which doesn’t damage our tourism sector for no material benefit. 

We stand ready to work with the Scottish Government to get things right.”

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