A licensing scheme for short-term lets is in place in Scotland, to “ensure consistent safety standards while reinforcing the positive reputation of Scottish tourism and hospitality.”
The deadline for existing hosts to apply for a licence was extended to 1 October 2023 – although any new hosts wishing to accept guests will need to have a licence already in place.
When will hosts need to obtain a licence for short-term lets?
If a property’s guest meets the below criteria, the accommodation will be exempt from the short-term let licensing rules:
- The guest lives in the property as their main home
- They’re a member of the host’s immediate family
- They use the property to undertake work or services for the host
- They share the property as “part of an educational arrangement”
Hosts will need to apply for a licence with their local council – and each of their properties may need a separate licence.
Local councils will take up to 12 months to process an application for existing hosts, and
up to 9 months for new hosts. Each local council can then decide how long the licence will last – which could be for up to 3 years from the date of issue.
There are four types of licence available, based on how the host chooses to rent out the property:
- Home sharing: For renting out all or part of a home while the host is living there
- Home letting: Letting out all or part of the hosts home, while the host isn’t there
- Secondary letting: Letting a property which is not normally lived in – a second home or holiday let, for example
- Home letting and home sharing: For if the host lets out their home while they’re living there as well as when they aren’t
For a short-let property to obtain a licence, it will need to meet certain criteria, including:
- Meet the Repairing Standard for houses and flats, including the Tolerable Standard
- Hold – and show in any advertising – a valid EPC from within the last 10 years – for whole homes rented out
- Ensure an electrical safety check is carried out every five years
- Meet certain fire safety criteria, including heat and smoke alarms, records that the furnishings meet the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988
- Carry out a fire and legionella risk assessment
- Obtain an up to date Gas Safety Certificate and a Portable Appliance Testing Report
- Set up buildings and public liability insurance
The hosts will also be obligated to display some of this certification, ensure the number of guests they welcome matches the maximum number allowed in the licence, and adhere to any extra conditions that the local authority may set.