Effective from October 1, 2023, it is mandatory to obtain a license before engaging in short-term lets in Scotland. This applies to hosting paying guests in your property and accepting bookings. Operating without a valid short-term let license is considered a criminal offense and may result in a fine of up to £2,500, along with a one-year ban on license applications, during which you are prohibited from offering lets.
However, there are exemptions. If you rent out a room in your home to a lodger, and it serves as their primary residence, a license is not required. Additionally, traditional tenancies by landlords do not necessitate a license.
Here is a comprehensive guide to the changes and those affected, covering:
Who Needs a License
Currently, these regulations are applicable only in Scotland, and all short-term let accommodations in the region must have a license.
This includes shared homes, rooms within a home, B&Bs, guesthouses, self-catering or holiday lets, and serviced apartments.
Exemptions apply if the guest lives in the accommodation as their main home, is a member of your immediate family, uses the accommodation for work or services for you, or shares the accommodation as part of an educational arrangement.
How to Apply for a License
Existing hosts should have applied for a license before October 1, 2023. They can continue letting during the processing period, which can last up to 12 months.
New hosts must obtain a license before offering lets, and it's illegal to take bookings or host guests without one. The council must process the application within 9 months, and if not, an automatic license for up to a year is granted.
The cost of a short-term let license, including the application fee, is determined by the local council. It typically depends on the property size and type of let.
Qualifying for a License
The new law mandates short-term lets to meet specific conditions, known as 'mandatory conditions,' to ensure accommodation safety and qualify for a license.
Conditions include meeting the Repairing Standard, holding a valid EPC, having fire warning and records, a Gas Safety Certificate, electrical safety checks, Portable Appliance Testing Reports, Legionella risk assessment, valid buildings insurance, public liability insurance, guest number compliance, displaying necessary information, conducting fire risk assessments, and having accessible floor plans.
It's essential to check with the local council for additional conditions they may impose.