The Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development at Glasgow Caledonian University was commissioned by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) to undertake an evaluation of the short-term let sector in Scotland. The Moffat Centre is the UK’s largest university-based consultancy and research centre for tourism and travel market research.
This independent study (February 2023) from respected policy experts in their field provides important findings for policymakers in respect to the Scottish Government’s short-term let regulations.
Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research, the objectives of the review were as follows:
- To explore the positive and negative impacts of the short-term let legislation on the sectors operators in Scotland;
- Assess how short-term let across different locations (urban and rural) have been affected by the STL licensing scheme legislation so far; and
- Summarise assessments and, where applicable suggestions and alternatives to short-term let licensing based on the opinions and experience of the STL operators.
Some of the main findings included:
- The majority of operators felt that STL licensing was time consuming and complicated.
- Over-three quarters (77.5%) found that the STL legislation was a significant or a medium threat to their business;
- Most do not intend to apply for the licence until at least September 2023. As a result, it is anticipated that immediately before the October 2023 deadline, councils will receive the majority of applications; and
- Many stated that the regulations create uncertainty for their future operations. The most frequently cited issues were the high cost of the application, a lack of necessary tradesmen to conduct surveys and safety and compliance checks in remote communities, the complexity of the application process, confusion about the necessity of all licensing requirements, and the lack of sufficient planning and structure in the proposed legislation.
- Participants also highlighted that the licensing legislation has no clear purpose, with confusion as to whether it aims to ensure health and safety standards or address housing challenges.
- The legislation doesn’t recognise that these challenges manifest themselves differently across urban and rural areas, with a one-size fits all approach being irrelevant for their business.
- Alternatives to legislation are available, such as voluntary and compulsory registration.
Read the full report: Moffat Centre Short-Term Let Accommodation Evaluation Review 2022:23
In response to the publication of the report, Fiona Campbell, CEO of the ASSC, commented:
“In order to properly understand the effect of short-term let regulations, it was necessary to consult with those most impacted: those who work in our sector. We thank the researchers at the Moffat Centre for this insightful and evidence-based report. The wealth of data and perceptive observations should be compulsory reading for those with an interest in the health of a crucial component of Scotland’s tourist economy. We sincerely hope its timely findings can help inform the scrutiny of these regulations by the Scottish Government and other stakeholders.”