“Your understanding is correct: home sharing is defined in the Licensing Order (sch. 2, para 13) and includes bed and breakfast activity.
B&Bs are not listed as excluded accommodation at schedule 1. Guest houses are excluded (para 1(d) of sch. 1). Change of use from a house (class 9 in the Use Classes Order) to a guest houses (class 7) generally requires planning permission. So the exclusion applies to properties that have planning permission to operate as a guest house. A house (class 9) can be used to offer bed and breakfast without planning permission where no more than two bedrooms are used for this purpose or, in the case of premises having less than four bedrooms, only one bedroom is used for that purpose. A flat cannot generally be used to offer bed and breakfast without planning permission.
The use of houses (class 9) as B&Bs is a form of home sharing and we have always intended to include this activity within definition of short-term lets. Our 2019 consultation paper proposed excluding “licenced hotels and B&Bs and self-catering properties on their premises”. We have excluded (para 1(e) of sch. 1) restaurants with rooms and inns, for example, where they are already licensed specifically to offer accommodation under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.”
On 20th January, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart confirmed this in a written answer to Oliver Mundell MSP:
Oliver Mundell (Dumfriesshire) (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party): To ask the Scottish Government how its proposed short-term let regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will impact on bed and breakfast businesses, and what consultation there has been with the sector.
Kevin Stewart: “The use of houses (class 9 in the Use Classes Order) as bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) is a form of home sharing and these will require a licence. Guest houses (class 7) are excluded from the definition of a short-term let and will not require a licence.
“The principal component of our licensing scheme is a set of mandatory standards which apply to all short-term lets, and will help to protect the safety of guests and neighbours across Scotland. Many hosts, including B&B operators, will already be following these standards as a matter of compliance with existing law or best practice.
“In developing our regulatory proposals, we have directly engaged with and heard from a wide range of stakeholders covering a range of interests. The Scottish Bed & Breakfast Association responded to both our 2019 and 2020 consultations on short-term lets.”
Problems with Regulation
Specific Issues for B&Bs
Tourism businesses such as B&Bs have consistently done the right thing during the pandemic, from closing or limiting the operation of their business in response to Scottish Government restrictions – often at great financial cost – or adhering to government protocols/guidance when the sector was allowed to reopen in the summer. Given the immense challenges facing the industry, when B&Bs have often struggled to receive vital grant funding from the Scottish Government, the last thing the sector needs at this time is the imposition of rushed and costly regulations which will further damage the livelihoods of hardworking professionals in Scottish tourism.
What do Local Authorities think?
What You Can Do In Response
Further details of the Committee’s work on short-term letting are available here: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/116756.aspx
and you should email your views to:
LocalGovernmentandCommunities@parliament.scot by Friday 22 January.
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