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Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning wrote to the James Dornan MSP, Convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee, on 10th July 2020 regarding short-term let regulation and the decision by the Scottish Government to restart their plans for the sector:

“Having paused work on the regulation of short-term lets to deal with the pandemic, we have now resumed our work on the measures that I announced on 8 January. You will recall that I announced proposals:

  • to establish a licencing scheme for short-term lets using powers under the Civil Government (Scotland) Act 1982;
  • to prioritise work to give local authorities the power to introduce short-term let control areas under powers in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019; and
  • to carefully and urgently review the tax treatment of short-term lets, to ensure they make an appropriate contribution to local communities and support local services.

We aim to lay the regulations giving local authorities powers to license short-term lets and introduce control areas in December so that they can be in force by spring 2021. As part of preparation to do this, we will be engaging stakeholders on our detailed proposals in autumn. The delay caused by COVID-19 necessitates that this will be a shorter period of engagement than originally planned but we will make sure that the process is effective in refining our proposals and finalising the statutory instruments.”

The ASSC has concerns that a licensing scheme is a blunt tool to fix the perceived problem of Airbnbs in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, the entire self-catering sector is being forced into the same category, with potentially dire consequences to a sector that contributes £723m to the Scottish economy.

ASSC has provided various reports and documents to support our proposal ‘Forward Together: A Collaborative Approach to Short-Term Letting’ prior to the current crisis (attached). We believe that our proposal is even more robust in light of the pandemic. It offers a proportionate approach which could be delivered across Scotland, with additional recommendations to reflect the key concerns in Edinburgh.

A licensing scheme for STLs would potentially bring local authority licensing teams to their knees.
The unintended consequence of restricting the STL sector in Edinburgh (and across Scotland) cannot be underestimated. It is not just individuals who will lose out, but an entire supply chain of property managers, cleaners, laundry providers, maintenance providers, marketing channel staff, etc), as well as the larger community, which indirectly benefits from STL.

This survey aims to assess the potential impact of restrictive legislation to the sector in Edinburgh.

We are not just asking for data from short-term let operators, but also the wider supply chain. Please share with your contacts and those businesses that you promote to your visitors to gain a greater vision of how the impact of restrictive legislation will have a ripple effect on other businesses in the community. 

Please take part. We have just a few short months to ensure legislation is not detrimental to a sector that contributes over £50m to the Edinburgh economy alone.

Please complete this survey if you operate in Edinburgh:

Please Complete the Survey HERE



As is it extremely important to continue to share knowledge, build upon the extensive support already given to our membership, allowing continued networking and collaboration and continue to support our members, we are organising a  series of weekly webinars – to be called “Autumn Talks”

We are delighted to announce that Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism & MSP for Inverness and Nairn will welcome attendees at the start of this Autumn Talk led by the Scottish Government’s Short Term Lets Delivery Group on the regulation of short-term lets.

This Talk will include a presentation by Andrew Mott, Chair of the Scottish Government’s Short-Term Let Delivery Group, Scottish Government and will will include a discussion around the regulation of short-term lets. In July 2020, the Scottish Government announced that they were resuming their plans, first unveiled back in January 2020, for the introduction of a licensing system, planning control areas, and a review of the tax treatment of short-term lets.

We are entering a period of engagement which provides an opportunity to properly assess and refine the detail of the regulations to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the needs of local communities and Scotland’s important tourist economy.  This will be an important one-time opportunity to connect directly with the Scottish Government’s Short-Term Lets Delivery Group to discuss the proposed licensing and planning measures.

Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive of ASSC, will Chair the session.

Register for the Autumn Talks HERE

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