Set-back on rural short-term lets

Rural businesses - including agritourism, holiday cottages and farmhouse B&Bs - will suffer following the Scottish Parliament’s passing of short-term let licensing legislation this week, it has been claimed.

Reacting to the passing of the legislation, Scottish Land & Estates said it had consistently raised strong concerns that the “one size fits all” order had been shaped with mainly urban businesses in mind - and that it failed to take into account the important role short-term lets played across rural Scotland by providing housing for communities and workers, as well as bringing in vital tourism.

“This urban-focused licensing order being imposed on rural Scotland, with evidence suggesting that the excessive bureaucracy and spiralling costs could now lead to many businesses closing with a knock-on impact to the local communities they serve,” said SLE policy adviser, Simon Ovenden.

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Agritourism sector lead, Caroline Millar said that the move would add significantly to the cost and administrative burden of professional businesses which already adhered to all regulatory requirements and would act as a disincentive to farm businesses already offering accommodation and also those considering entering the market.

“As farmers and crofters look to diversify income streams to protect themselves from the impact of Brexit, this may put off people starting up agritourism ventures, at a time when Scotland’s Agritourism Strategy sets out the ambition to double numbers in the sector by 2030.”

Fiona Campbell, the chief executive officer of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers said the sector had been used as a convenient scapegoat for wider policy failures by government, especially on housing.

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