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Real Stories. Real Lives. Real Livelihoods.

These are just some of the stories being replicated across Scotland to the detriment of local communities.

  • “As the owner of a small cottage, all I ever wanted was to make sure my cottage was occupied and not sitting empty for half the year, and to give a little employment via the cottage to the local community where it is. I’m not a full time hospitality sector worker, I don’t make money from it (it just about or did just about cover costs and maintenance… not this year with all the costs associated with the licence), and I have quite a high pressure time intensive job away from this. This licence application system isn’t easy, it’s time consuming, expensive and very stressful. It could have been so much more simple a process. I don’t begrudge the safety aspects, but it’s caused me lots of anxiety and sleepless nights worrying about getting all sorted when it’s very hard locating people to do the needed things, whilst having a life and work away from it. I love my wee house … it will be such a shame if it ends up being another empty second house because I decide it’s not worth losing sleep over and I just keep it for me and my family.” 
  • “5 years ago we bought a derelict farm that had been on the market for over a year. It was our dream to create a high quality self catering business on an organic smallholding. It has taken all our energy, ingenuity and our life savings to repair and refurbish the land and buildings. We have lived on site in a caravan for several years now. We are still only halfway through the project, and last year, post COVID, finally opened our first cottage for holiday let guests. They loved it here! The peace and tranquillity in a modern cottage in a traditional building on a farm, relaxing and unwinding as they sit in their sun room or garden enjoying a drink watching livestock gently grazing in the adjacent fields. We already have repeat bookings for this year, so must be getting something right. But our hard work just feels so futile when our government seems so hostile and determined to punish us for our investment and entrepreneurship. We are seriously reconsidering whether we bother to finish the other two cottages. What’s the point if the time we need to spend growing and marketing our business has instead to be devoted to getting our heads around the latest government anti business initiative? The stress is extraordinary and completely unwelcome.”
  • “This is so stressful. This is my living and what with mortgage rates, electricity, fuel, supplies etc. increasing. I really don’t know if I can continue. These measures feel punitive and don’t solve the problem. Living in a rural area, tourism is vital to this area.”
  • “I have a small business letting holiday homes in the East Neuk villages of Fife. Since the need for licensing initially came in on 1st October 22, I have had 31 properties removed by owners who are not prepared to incur additional costs and Licence renewals. I fully support the requirement for Safety Certification, which we have always ensured was in-place, but the loss of these properties, which bring guests into our small villages who greatly support local businesses and attractions, is a huge blow to all concerned. I have other owners who will let this summer season but intend to stop holiday letting on 30th September 23. I employ 7 local staff, and support a dozen local housekeeping companies and maintenance companies. Whoever thought Licensing was a good idea has no idea! This is real life for all of us.”We have a house we use for ourselves and it is let for about 38 weeks as a holiday let. Do we just use it for ourselves because of all this nonsense, something I said we would never do as we want to support the local community. The other option is to sell up which would be so sad and then still it would probably become a second home.”
  • “The much bigger picture that this government needs to understand is the effect it will have on the surrounding business! No tourist means empty houses and empty shops and business!! We are selling up because of the chip chip chipping away it’s simply not a viable business anymore!”
  • “Homesharers – these are peoples first and only homes in many cases. There letting a room is not going to change the number of residential properties which could become available. people should be allowed to decide what they do within their home – assuming safety etc is met. The register for landlords is £68 per year and they have safety requirements to implement why was this scheme not extended to include STL? We have an adjoining guest suite which brings visitors and their sports and funds to a small village – until 30 September that is and then we are out.”
  • “Pursuing all the license requirements has been incredibly expensive and a huge financial hit this year. Not what any small business needs in immediate post pandemic times. Like the person posting however, I don’t begrudge the safety aspects. It protects guests and indeed myself as a responsible cottage owner, but everything else has been incredibly complicated and stressful.”
  • “We stopped at the end of Oct last year as it’s just not viable to continue. We are also subject to a problematic ferry service which has a double impact!”
  • “We are stopping letting unless/until this nonsense is stopped. Unfortunately, local businesses will lose custom from our guests!”
  • “I gave up.”

One of our members wrote the following:

“My late husband and I holidayed in Millport, as he had done as a child, for over fifteen years with our three children. We bought two tiny , derelict flats over a  four years period and turned them into safe, warm, well insulated, holiday flats. Neither of them are big enough for even a small family to use as a permanent home. I feel we have contributed hugely to the local economy- we used local builders , we use local tradesmen for maintenance, and my cleaners both live on the island.  

 Now that I’m widowed , and still under pension age, ( my husband died in a cycling accident) the income my STL brings in is essential to my income stream. I simply couldn’t survive on my wages from my care based job . 

I’m sick with worry that I’ll have to sell them if licensing becomes difficult or expensive.”

A B&B, who is happy to share their perspective, stated the following:

“Our council decided to stop any new businesses from being able to open. No advertising, No bookings allowed until a STL license is in place… In the process of getting the relevant documents together, I spoke to a company doing this & they have another client who has been told that they won’t get the license for 9 months, this will mean losing out on this years summer trade.

I got in touch with a person dealing with queries on the license for the council and he said it’s a minimum of 28 days and up to 9 months. I still have outgoings to consider without any income. I just don’t understand how they can prevent me from earning a living this way, while I am an existing business this expansion is considered as a new business. Existing businesses can continue operating until they have to apply in October 2023 as they received an extension. There must be something that can be done as other councils are not doing this just Highland Council. It’s a difficult enough time with everything going on in the country without being unfairly penalised like this.

I’ve been trying since early last year to open 2 x glamping pods/lodges. With the start of the energy crisis last year I fought for over 8 months just to get a supplier to install an electric meter, which delayed their completion and prevented me from trading last year prior to the introduction of the STL. Otherwise I would’ve been fine. The whole system is anti-small businesses. My council are pricing the licenses on occupancy levels and not size of property. My 2 x pods in total can sleep 7-8 which brings them into the same price bracket as a very large property with approximately up to 8 rooms but I won’t get the same income/return as they would which doesn’t make sense to me at all.

I think the whole STL situation should be postponed until this cost of living crisis settles down as it will have an adverse effect on many places with folk struggling everywhere. No spare funds for holidays & the rising costs in running the business, from electricity to water fees.

I am based in a rural area of the highlands and i won’t be affecting any local housing issues I got full planning for my pods/lodges prior to starting which they have put a clause in it saying that they can ONLY be used for holiday letting

An increase in second homes will most definitely hollow out communities. Yet another ‘unintended consequence’ of short-term let regulations.

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