The value of running pilots to test implementation of any licensing regime was highlighted in the Law Society’s response to a Scottish Government consultation on short-term lets last year. Committee convener Archie MacIver has emphasised the importance of this following the announcement by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP this week that local authorities will be given the powers to introduce such licensing schemes from spring 2021.
Archie said: “The short-term lets market is fast growing, but it is still a relatively new market. Pilots of the new licensing regime will be of value in highlighting any problems before national roll-out, particularly given the different issues which are arising in the context of short-term lets. Our original response to the Scottish Government also highlighted that we believe a phased approach will be important to give owners time to ensure that they comply with any registration requirements and meet the standards required.”
The Society’s consultation response had also warned that increased regulation would place additional burdens on local authority planning and licensing teams to manage the requirements of a new scheme. Archie added: “It is pleasing to see that the Scottish Government has recognised this, and that the Minister confirmed in his announcement that local authorities will be able to set fees to allow the scheme to be cost neutral both in terms of administering the licensing scheme, but also ensuring compliance with it. This will ensure that local authorities are able to implement the scheme effectively and efficiently for the benefit of both property owners and local residents.”