Short-Term Let Licensing for Self-Caterers, B&Bs, Guest Houses, Glamping
and other Short-Term Let Accommodation
Key Information on the Scottish Government’s consultation on short-term let licensing, the main issues involved, and what you can do in response.
What is This Really Going to Cost?
- Local authorities will each determine their own fees and fee structures to recover establishment and running costs specific to their area. This means that the fees charged by local authority will vary. Relevant factors include whether they can achieve economies of scale, rurality and how they integrate their short-term lets licensing scheme with other housing and licensing functions.
- Different licensing authorities may charge different fees. The exact fee that you need to pay may depend on things like how many guests you want to accommodate. If you have premises in more than one licensing authority area, the fees you pay may be different, even for the same circumstances. If your application is refused, your fee will not be refunded.
- Local authorities can differentiate their fees dependent on the characteristics of the short-term let. For example, a local authority could charge a different fee based on: the maximum number of guests specified on the licence and whether a property is licensed for (a) secondary letting or (b) home sharing and home letting; this is not an exhaustive list.
- Other determinations may include: the size of the premises; number of bedrooms; number of guests; duration of the period is it made available for use; and the extent to which the licence holder has complied with the conditions of the licence.
- The BRIA assessment suggests that the average indicative fee for processing an application will be between £223 and £377.However, a representative from SOLAR (Society of Local
Authority Lawyers & Administrators in Scotland) on the Working Group suggested that the scheme would have to run on a cost recovery basis and could cost in the region of £1,500-£2,000 per licence.
- To put this in context, landlord registration fees are set nationally at £67 plus £15 for each property, making the lowest fee £82 for one property. This cost is incurred once every three years.
- The ASSC has no confidence whatsoever that the fee will be as low as £223, nor how this figure has been set, although it appears to reflect a two bedroomed flat.
- According to the draft legislation, a local authority may also charge a fee in respect of an inspection. There is no other regime (liquor licensing, building, planning and similar) where premises are charged for an inspection which is a statutory requirement.
Incidentally, no mention is made in the draft Guidance to Hosts and Operators that operating without a licence could result in a fine of £50,000 or imprisonment. Failing to comply with a licence condition, may incur a fine of £10,000.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND SCOTLAND’S TOURISM INDUSTRY
It is important to remember that none of this is inevitable. The Scottish Government have changed policies if there is sufficient public pressure, just as they temporarily withdrew the original Licensing Order because of a high level of response from operators like you.
There is a chance they will do so again – but only if there is an unprecedented level of concern. That is why, if you agree with the ASSC’s analysis and are concerned for the future of your business, we would kindly ask you to do 3 things:
- Respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation by Friday 13 August 2021 using the following linkhttps://consult.gov.scot/housing-and-social-justice/short-term-lets-draft-licensing-order-and-bria/consultation/subpage.2016-07-07.1474135251/
- Contact your regional and constituency MSPs in the first instance and then local authority councillors highlighting the problems with the regulations (you can copy and paste your consultation response) and explaining the likely impact on your business and local supply chain etc. You can find your MSPs using the postcode checker tool on the Scottish Parliament website: https://beta.parliament.scot/msps/current-and-previous-msps
- In the correspondence above, please copy us in: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, watch the ASSC webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0gOivLov7g&t=82s