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Controls on Airbnb are “hugely disproportionate’ - claim

New measures to reduce the impact of Airbnb and other short lets in Scotland are “hugely disproportionate” a property group claims.

The Scottish Government says local authorities must set up a licensing scheme by October 1 this year, with existing hosts and operators having until April 1 2023 to apply for a licence. Fees will be between £214 and £436 for a three-year licence.

Scottish Land & Estates has for some months raised strong concerns, saying the measure - now enacted - fails to take into account the important role short-term lets play across rural Scotland by providing housing for communities and workers, as well as bringing in vital tourism.


Following consultation responses expressing concern at the proposals, the Scottish Government revised its draft order last autumn to make changes including removing overprovision powers and reducing public liability insurance requirements. However, SLE has highlighted that while such amendments were welcome, they fell far short of meeting needs of rural businesses.

SLE argues that the measure’s one-size-fits-all approach fails to reflect the diversity of rural businesses as well as being based on a flawed Business & Regulatory Impact Assessment that excludes previous Scottish Government work on the value of short-term lets in rural communities. 

Further issues include no differentiation between well-managed and reputable businesses who already comply with existing health and safety legislation, and more casual, informal hosts. 

The SLE is also complaining about potentially disproportionate license fees and about apparent threats that up to three-year licenses could be withdrawn in the future.


SLE policy adviser Simon Ovenden says: “We’re extremely disappointed that these proposals have been passed by the Scottish Parliament, albeit with some welcome opposition that recognised the damage that this legislation will have on rural businesses. 

“While we understand the need for action in some localised situations, we have constantly warned of the dangers of a one size fits all approach. 

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

“This is particularly disappointing given the significant difficulty rural businesses have faced during the last two years.”

  • Peter Hendry

    Whilst the intention may be laudable, licensing all AirBnB lettings is missing the mark. The real change needed in order to calm rents and house prices while supply catches up is to bring in a new licence regime for all estate agents. Such a regime would require these to act primarily for buyers instead of for sellers. This way buyers could more fairly compete in the market. See the house price solution web site for the detail on all of this.


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