Short-term lets Scotland: Operators reminded of grace period as snap survey shows a third of operators have not applied for licence

Operators have been told they will receive a grace period to continue running short-term lets if their application has been submitted by tomorrow’s deadline, as a new survey claimed one third had still not applied for a licence.

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) said the poll of 1,367 respondents, completed on Wednesday, showed only 61 per cent had applied for a short-term let licence under new restrictions, amid claims an “onerous” regulatory burden and high costs are putting off applicants.

But the Scottish Government has reiterated those who have submitted paperwork in time for the October 1 deadline will be able to continue trading until the council in their area processes the application.

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Only 14 businesses in Edinburgh and three businesses in Glasgow have been successful in obtaining a licence, the ASSC claimed yesterday.

Tenement flats along Comely Bank in Edinburgh. Picture: PATenement flats along Comely Bank in Edinburgh. Picture: PA
Tenement flats along Comely Bank in Edinburgh. Picture: PA

Scottish Government figures released at the start of September showed just 90 applications for licences under new short-term lets legislation had been submitted for Edinburgh to that point.

A Government spokesperson said updated figures on how many had successfully applied across Scotland by tomorrow’s deadline were not expected to be published until early next year.

"As many existing hosts have submitted applications close to the deadline of October 1, 2023, public registers will not currently provide an accurate picture of overall numbers that have applied,” the spokesperson said.

The ASSC said only 34 per cent of respondents to its survey in Glasgow and 42 per cent in Edinburgh had applied for a short-term let licence.

Tenement flats along Comely Bank in Edinburgh. Picture: PATenement flats along Comely Bank in Edinburgh. Picture: PA
Tenement flats along Comely Bank in Edinburgh. Picture: PA

A total of 31 per cent of businesses give the primary reason for not yet applying as “the process is onerous, complex and time consuming” in the survey.

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the ASSC, said: “Sadly, Humza Yousaf has stuck his head in the sand and decided not to listen to the thousands of businesses, which are under threat thanks to this onerous scheme.

"The numerous warnings from across the sector have fallen on deaf ears. The ASSC still contends that the regulations remain unfit for purpose and will wreak untold damage on Scottish tourism and our reputation as a welcoming place to visit and do business.

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"The First Minister needs to show leadership right now and support small tourism accommodation providers who are so vital to local economies across Scotland.”

Housing minister Paul McLennan said: “If existing hosts submitted their applications before October 1, they can continue to trade and welcome guests whilst their licensing authority considers their application, the scheme remains open for new applications. Licensing authorities have 12 months to process applications for existing hosts.

“Ministers in a range of capacities have engaged with the sector and listened to feedback. That is why we granted a one-off six-month extension to the scheme, which means hosts have had 20 months to complete an application. No operator to date has been refused a licence, among those who have already applied.

“Councils have set fees to cover the costs of administering the scheme, and are supporting applicants with any missing information to enable applications to be processed as quickly as possible.”



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