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

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

We will be adding more information, such as details of each council’s policy, fees and forms as they are released, so please keep checking back.

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 of up to £5,000 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.


The ASSC, in association with VisitScotland, has developed a full set of guidance. This will be the industry ‘go to guide’ going forwards. Find out more.

For queries, you can contact: customer.services@visitscotland.com

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.

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.

Resources for ASSC Members:

  • Frequently Asked Questions: A substantive Frequently Asked Questions document
  • Regulation Roadshow Webinars
  • Final Local Policies
  • Final Fees
  • Planning Control Area Webinar, in association with Brodies LLP and Houghton Planning Ltd, including how to apply for Planning Permission / Certificate of Lawfulness.
  • Fire Safety Webinar, in association with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: James Saunders, Station Commander, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) shares an overview of what fire safety measures are expected within short-term let premises. James covers the following Premises Profile: occupancy capacity; home sharing; escape routes; internal floor space; Fire Risk Assessments: including inspection requirements; guests’ needs in relation to fire safety; doors & exits; firefighting equipment (extinguishers); automatic fire detection; emergency lighting; fire log book.
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Application Checklist
  • Fire Risk Assessment Template
  • Legionella Risk Assessment Template
  • Contacts for Trusted Partners with discounts for ASSC Members
  • Contact details for discounted legal and planning advice

These have been published in the members area. You can find a plethora of resources in the Guidance Area.

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