From 1 October 2022, all short-term let accommodation will need a licence, unless specifically excluded. This will ensure there is a mandatory set of standards that apply to all short-term lets across Scotland. 

The new licence is a legal obligation, even if hosts occasionally let out a spare room or sub-let while on holiday for example.  

The licensing scheme was developed in response to concerns raised by residents about the impact of short-term let properties on their local communities. It gives councils flexibility to develop licensing schemes that meet local needs, and sits alongside powers for councils to establish short-term let control areas.

To comply with the licence, hosts will be required to meet a set of mandatory conditions which apply across Scotland, plus any additional conditions set by their council.

Anyone operating as a host before 1 October has until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence and can operate until their application has been determined. New hosts must obtain a licence before accepting bookings and welcoming guests to stay.

More information about the new licensing requirements and short-term let control areas can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Licence fees will vary depending on the local authority, size of property and type of let. Mandatory licence conditions can be found in Schedule 3 of the Licensing Order.

The Scottish Government has committed to working with local authorities, as well as organisations such as Airbnb, and the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers, to review levels of short-term let activity in hotspot areas next summer. This will help the Scottish Government to monitor the impact of these measures on the wider tourism sector, and to assess whether any further measures are required.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said:

“Our new licensing scheme will support responsible operators and give guests the confidence that their short-term let – be it a flat in Edinburgh, a property for a business trip to the Borders, or a cottage in the Highlands – meets the same set of safety standards.

“These new conditions include measures such as displaying an energy performance rating on listings, or securing valid buildings and public liability insurance. We know the vast majority of short-term lets businesses are already following these safety standards as a matter of best practice, and some are already required by existing legislation.

“We know short-term lets make a positive contribution to Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies, and these measures will allow them to continue doing just that while ensuring this is balanced with the needs of local residents and communities.

“The deadline for applications from existing hosts is 1 April, and I would urge all hosts and operators to contact your local authority as early as possible to learn how to apply.”

Malcolm Roughead, CEO at VisitScotland, said:

“The small accommodation sector is a key contributor to the economy and our high-quality and varied offering is one of the things that makes Scotland such a special destination.

“Through an Industry Advisory Group, we’ve been working closely with representatives from across the sector ahead of introduction of the licensing schemes.

“We’ll continue to give both new and established businesses the right advice to help them through the process of applying for a short-term let licence.”