What is the new licensing scheme?
From 1 October 2022, all short-term let accommodation 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.
If you were an existing host before October 2022 and do not apply for a licence before 1 October 2023 but continue to operate, you could get a fine of up to £2,500 and be banned from applying for a licence for a year. You would not be able to offer lets during this time.
When do I need to apply for a licence?
All new hosts need a licence before they can accept bookings and welcome guests. Councils have up to 9 months to process applications for new hosts.
If you were already using your accommodation to provide short-term lets before 1 October 2022, you must submit your licensing application before 1 October 2023. As long as you have applied by the deadline, you can continue letting your accommodation while the council is processing your licence application.
Councils have up to 12 months to process applications from existing hosts, and can apply to a court for more time if there is a good reason.
How do I apply for a licence?
You will need to apply for a licence from the local council in which your accommodation is located.
If you offer more than one short-term let, each may need a separate licence even if they are in the same council area.
What do I need to know before applying?
- Your accommodation will need to meet mandatory conditions. Your local council may also set additional conditions.
- If your accommodation is in a short-term let control area, it is a condition of the licence to have, or have applied for, planning permission. If it is not in a control area, and you do not have planning permission, you may still require this in order to obtain a short-term licence. You should check with your local council planning department to find out.
- Local councils run their short-term let licensing scheme based on cost-recovery only. Licence fees will vary across different local councils and may depend on the size and capacity of your accommodation.