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The Cost of Short-Term Let Licensing and Planning – Survey Winter 2022


  • The ASSC continues to collate evidence of the impact of the challenges facing our sector. In late November 2022, the ASSC surveyed over 1,100 businesses on short-term let planning and licensing regulations.
  • The data shown in the below survey results will be used to inform ongoing discussions with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders.
  • The results highlight the variation in costs in relation to obtaining a short term let license from planning permission to insurance and risk assessments for businesses across Scotland.
  • Headlines show that 93% of businesses remain concerned about short-term let licencing with 66% saying they are considering leaving the sector.
  • While this survey was undertaken prior to the announcement of the welcome six-month delay for existing operators, it demonstrates the work to be done in allaying the fears of those involved in Scotland’s vital tourism industry and securing a sustainable future for those involved.
  • The Scottish Government must work in lockstep with industry and local councils to minimise the regulatory burden to support small business during these challenging times.
  • The self-catering sector boosts the Scottish economy by £867m per annum, supporting 24,000 jobs. It provides a vital source of alternative accommodation for major events like the Edinburgh Festivals whose future viability remains at risk due to draconian short-term let regulations.


Of the 1,148 businesses that responded to this survey:

  • 87% had not yet have not yet applied for a licence despite the timeline for implementation
  • Of those operators that have applied, 89% still being considered by local councils
  • Those involved in the sector are downbeat about the future: 63% said they were pessimistic to very pessimistic.
  • This is, in part, due to the costs associated with short-term let licensing and planning. Planning costs vary dramatically and are a significant cost for operators on top of all other costs to be able to apply for a licence.
  • 66% were considering leaving the sector or were not sure, while 64% said they will leave due to short-term let regulation and its associated costs.
  • Interestingly, of those considering leaving the sector, a massive 95% said that if they sell their property, it would not be available for affordable housing.
  • 71% say that STL licensing significantly impacts on their business (93% are concerned to very concerned).
  • In terms of other costs, 66% utility price increase significantly impacts in their business (94% are concerned to very concerned).
  • Consequently, 40% are experiencing new and mild mental health problems with just under one-in-ten (7%) experiencing new and severe mental health problems.

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