Opposition appears to be growing to the first major bid in the UK to regulate the spread of Airbnbs and properties using other short let platforms.
The Scottish Government has decreed that all local authorities in Scotland will be required to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October this year.
Existing hosts and operators will have until April 1 2023 to apply for a licence for each property that they operate as a short-term let. All short-term lets in Scotland will have to be licensed by July 1 2024.
However, many short lets bodies have raised concerns about the nature of the regulations; instead, they want a form of self-regulated registration rather than a legally-binding form of independent regulation.
This alternative idea has won backing from Scottish Conservative local government and housing spokesperson, Miles Briggs.
He says: “It is very disappointing that [the government’s controlling parties] SNP-Green Ministers have failed to consider the significant concerns or take forward the workable solution offered to deliver a registration scheme which would have met the policy outcomes.
“Small businesses and the tourism sector have been hammered by the pandemic and are continuing to deal with an ever-changing picture surrounding Covid. This scheme is the last thing they need at this time.”
And an elected member of the Scottish Parliament who is a rebel SNP member - Fergus Ewing - is also backing a self-regulated alternatives.
Ewing claims: “The fundamental difference between a licensing scheme and a [self regulating] notification scheme is very simple – Scotland’s local authorities will have the power to refuse a licence. That means the business will be terminated.
Therefore, the difference is inherent and draconian. Tens of thousands of properties will now have some fear that their business will be confiscated – maybe terminated.”
SNP Housing Secretary Shona Robison comments: “We have already introduced legislation allowing councils to establish short-term let control areas and manage numbers of short-term lets.
“This is the next significant step to delivering a licensing scheme that will ensure short-term lets are safe and the people providing them are suitable. We want short term lets to continue making a positive impact on Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies while meeting the needs of local communities.
“Short-term lets can offer people a flexible travel option. However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hotspots, high numbers of lets can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in. The licensing scheme and control area legislation give councils the powers to take action where they need to.”