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Deadline looms for short-term lets licensing

By David Porter

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Short term let owners need to obtain a licence by October.
Short term let owners need to obtain a licence by October.

Owners of short-term let properties in the north-east are being urged to apply for a licence under Scotland’s short-term licensing scheme before the October 1 deadline.

Short-term let hosts must apply for a licence with their relevant local authority before the deadline.

Anyone who operated a short-term let before October 1, 2022 can still accept bookings and guests until an application is determined, but must apply before the October 1, 2023 deadline.

Owners who started operations after October 1, 2022 cannot begin trading until they receive their licence.

Hosts must apply for a licence with the local authority their property is located and are being urged to check local criteria before making an application.

Aberdeenshire Council developed its licensing scheme with feedback from local businesses and communities.

Its aim is to ensure visitors enjoy a safe experience in holiday let accommodation which will encourage them to return to the region and to support the area’s businesses.

Any new short-term let businesses and existing ones offering additional new accommodation must legally have a licence before operating or they could face a fine of up to £2500.

All short-term let properties need to be licensed by July 1st, 2024.

There are four types of short-term let licence-

Secondary letting - the letting of property where you do not normally live, for example a second home that is let to guests.

Home letting - using all or part of your own home for short-term lets, whilst you are absent, an example of this could be whilst you are on holiday.

Home sharing - using part of your own home for short-term lets, whilst you are in residence.

Home letting and home sharing - operating short-term lets from your own home while you are living there and for periods when you are absent.

In light of the economic challenges facing businesses, the council agreed a substantial reduction of fees in December last year.

Fees depend on the type of licence application and guest capacity of the property:

Guest capacity (people)/ Home sharing or letting/ Secondary letting

1 to 2 £340 £450

3 to 4 £450 £600

5 to 9 £570 £760

10 to 15 £680 £850

16 or more £850 £940

Applicants will need to provide a number of important documents with their application with fees including-

Current Electrical Certificates of Compliance: Electrical Installation Condition Report.

Current Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate for all appliances.

Gas Safety Certificate – from a suitably accredited Gas Safe Registered installer.

EPC Certificate (secondary lets only).

Evidence of your existing insurance arrangements for the property, example current cover, and Public Liability or Property Owners Liability insurance to a minimum cover of £2m per dwelling.

Location and site plan for rural properties with multiple units.

SFRS fire safety checklist.

Wholesome Private Water Supplies – evidence of satisfactory results within the last 12 months.

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said: “Short-term let accommodation plays an important role in Scotland’s economy, supporting our tourism and hospitality sector and allowing tourists and holiday goers somewhere to take them closer to the best that Scotland can offer.

“However, it is also important that there is appropriate regulation in place to ensure the safety of guests, and so that local authorities can make decisions that are right for their local areas.

"That is why the Scottish Government has introduced the short-term lets licensing scheme.

“I would like to thank those who have already signed up to the scheme, bringing assurances to tourists that their safety is paramount and that they have met local guidelines.

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