A scheme to allow local authorities to regulate short term lets will come into force in spring of 2021, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has announced.

The ability to designate control areas for short term lets was introduced in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, following concern about the number of properties in tourist-heavy places such as Edinburgh being put to such use. Licensing itself will come under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. The scheme will incorporate a compulsory element, supporting safety standards for short-term lets, and additional, optional, powers for local authorities to impose other conditions appropriate to their areas.


Ministers have also committed to consider how short term lets will be taxed in the future, to ensure they make an appropriate contribution to local communities and support local services, complementing the Transient Visitor Levy Bill, which will be introduced later this Parliament.

Mr Stewart commented: “Short-term lets can offer people a flexible travel option and have contributed positively to Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies across the country.

“However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hot spots, high numbers of short-term lets are causing problems and often make it harder for people to find homes to live in.

“That is why we are empowering local authorities to implement a system that works for their area. By giving councils the power to set conditions around short-term lets licences and put in place planning control areas to tackle hot spots, communities across Scotland will be able to decide what is best for them and their local economy."

“Everybody wants visitors, hosts, neighbours and local residents to be safe. That is why the licensing scheme includes a safety element which will be mandatory across Scotland for all short-term lets. Separately, local authorities will be given discretion to include further conditions to help tackle littering or overcrowding of properties.”