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 New short-term let licensing scheme for Airbnb owners
Residential property & conveyancing

New short-term let licensing scheme for Airbnb owners



Everything you need to know about the new short-term let licensing scheme

The Scottish Government has now passed the Short Term Letting legislation, meaning that all Airbnb style holiday let properties will need to go through a licensing process, starting in autumn this year. Harper Macleod have specialist licensing solicitors who have been tracking the new legislation and are ready to support holiday let property owners who will be required to apply for licenses under the new regime from autumn 2022.

When will the new scheme take effect?

Local authorities must establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by 1 October 2022. Existing hosts and operators will then have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence. Licensing authorities will have 12 months to determine each application so all existing short-term let properties in Scotland should be licensed by 1 April 2024. Existing hosts who make an application before 1 April 2023 can continue operating whilst their application is being determined.

How do I apply for a short-term let license?

As property host, you can apply for a licence directly, or you can instruct a solicitor, letting agency or property management company to do it on your behalf. If you do not own the premises (for example you are a tenant), then you must have the permission of the owner to make an application.

You will be asked to confirm that you and your property meet the mandatory conditions for holding a short-term letting license, as well as any additional conditions imposed by the relevant local authority. The mandatory conditions include complying with health and safety standards, holding the relevant insurance, mortgage provider’s consent and planning permission (if required). The licensing authority may seek to confirm the position by making a visit to your premises; asking to see relevant documentation; or asking you to declare that you have met the conditions.

You will also have to pay a licensing fee. Each local authority will provide details of the fees and how to apply once their schemes are in pace in October 2022. In the meantime, this pre-application checklist will ensure you have everything you need before making as application.

Do I need planning permission as well as a short-term let license?

It depends. New Short-term Let Control Area Regulations empower local authorities to designate areas where there is a high concentration of holiday lets as “short-term let control areas”. These areas will be subject to stricter controls designed to help manage the impact of short-term lets on the availability of residential housing.

Outside of a control area, it continues to be the case that the planning authority will consider whether any change of use of a dwellinghouse is material and therefore requires planning permission on a case-by-case basis. Within a control area though, change of use from a private dwellinghouse to a holiday let will always require planning permission.

Can a short-term let license application be refused?

Your licensing authority must grant your application unless there are grounds to refuse it. Possible grounds for refusing your application may relate to the host – that somebody named on your application is disqualified from having a short-term lets licence or is not a “fit and proper person” for example; or it may relate to the premises – that they are not suitable or convenient having regard to the location, character or condition of the premises; the nature and extent of the proposed activity; the kind of persons likely to be in the premises or the possibility of undue public nuisance, for example.

What happens if the license is refused?

If your short-term let licensing application is refused, you can appeal by summary application to the Sheriff Court within 28 days from the date of the licensing authority’s decision.

Harper Macleod’s licensing solicitors are experienced in appealing licensing authority decisions and can support you in any court application against a short-term let license refusal.

Can you reapply after a short-term let license refusal?

If your application for a licence is refused, you cannot reapply for a licence within one year of that decision, unless there has been a material change in your circumstances since then.

How much will a short term let license cost?

Licensing fees will be set by local authorities to cover their costs in establishing and administering the scheme. The average fee is estimated to be in the range between £214 and £436 for a three year licence.

Where can I get more information on the new short term letting rules for Scotland?

The Scottish Government has published detailed guidance for hosts and operators as well as guidance for Scottish licensing authorities, letting agencies and platforms.

Contact us

Please contact a member of our licensing team with any queries about the short-term let licensing process or appeals against licensing decisions. From autumn 2022, we can help you to apply for a license for your rental property and answer any queries about control areas or additional licensing conditions applicable in your area.


Glasgow Edinburgh Inverness Elgin Thurso Shetland
Get in touch

Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.

Speak to us today on 0330 159 5555

Get in touch


Get in touch

Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.