A Holyrood committee has backed by a majority the regulations bringing in a licensing scheme for short term residential lets in Scotland.

By five votes to two, the MSPs agreed to the two orders, which further the Government's aim to reduce the problems sometimes faced by neighbours. Powers to control overprovision were removed from the current version of the regulations.

The committee was divided on whether to prefer a licensing or a registration scheme, on which opposing views were presented in evidence. Concerns were expressed that a licensing scheme would be unduly burdensome to proprietors and a disproportionate response. However the majority accepted that a licensing scheme would be more effective in tackling problems such as antisocial behaviour and criminality associated with short term lets, and would be able to set a fit and proper person test for landlords.

All members were agreed that the scheme should be reviewed in the summer of 2023 – and would welcome further consideration of the issue of overprovision at that point. All existing hosts must submit a licence application by 31 March 2023 and hold a licence by 1 July 2024; any new host wishing to start letting after 1 October 2022 must have a licence in place first.

The committee would also welcome any guidance that would make it clearer that bed and breakfast businesses might be subject to a less onerous regime.

Click here to access the committee's report.