Licensing of short-term lets (STL) in Edinburgh has arrived and here’s everything owners of STLs need to know about applying for a license.


On 1st October 2022, the Short Term Letting Licensing Scheme came into effect, meaning that anyone with a property which they intend to let as a STL, will have to gain a license from the local authority before doing so. Any operators who have been renting their property as a STL before 1st October have until 1st April 2023 to apply for a license which needs to be in place by 1st July 2024 at the latest. Licenses in properties which are let in their entirety, known as ‘Secondary Letting’ will be granted for 1 year.


Applying for a license

Edinburgh Council have published their policy and application paperwork. Applications must be made along with an appropriate fee and layout plan as well as copies of;

  • Annual Gas Safety Certificate (if there’s gas in the property)
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report
  • Annual Portable Appliance Test Certificate
  • Proof of Planning Permission or Certificate of lawfulness (see below)

Applicants are also required to confirm that the following are held;

  • Fire Safety Risk Assessment
  • Energy Performance Certificate
  • Building Insurance Certificate
  • Public Liability Insurance Certificate
  • Legionella Risk Assessment
  • Annual Emergency Lighting Certificate (for 5 occupants and above)

Applicants must also display a notice of the application, on or near the property where it can be viewed by the public for 21 consecutive days, giving neighbours the opportunity to appeal the license application, if necessary.



Annual license application fees start at £653 for 1-3 occupants, £1,089 for 4-5 occupants, £2,481 for 6-10 occupants, up to £5,869 for 21+ occupants.


Up to 12 months to get a decision on your STL

The council has 9 months to determine a STL application from the date it is received, and they have up to 12 months where a STL has been operated prior to 1st October 2022. The council will inspect some STL’s on license application, using a ‘risk based approach’.


Planning permission

Edinburgh was designated a short-term let control area so on top of a license, operators in Edinburgh also have to have planning permission to carry out STLs in their property. For some properties which have been let on a STL basis continuously for over 10 years, planning permission is not required, provided these properties have been granted a ‘Certificate of Lawfulness’.


The end of the road for short-term lets in shared stairwells?

It’s unlikely that planning permission will be granted for tenement flats with shared entrances. Furthermore, in the STL application guidance notes, Edinburgh Council state; The council believes that tenemental accommodation, or those with a shared main door, are unsuitable for secondary STL…….[and that]…..For the purposes of this policy, secondary letting in tenement or shared main door accommodation is considered as unsuitable and there will be a rebuttable presumption….against the grant of a license in such circumstances’. The council may consider exemptions to this policy for factors including; neighbours support, length of time operated, intensity of use of accommodation and low levels of complaints. 

As planning and license applications are approved or rejected, we’ll learn more about which style of properties and in what circumstances properties will be awarded licenses and which licenses are unlikely to be granted but for now it doesn’t look good for properties within shared staircases.


Temporary Licenses but only where operators letting out part of their own home

 Applications can be made to the council for a temporary license (up to 6 weeks) for STL to cover periods such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmany Festive Period or major sporting/international events, however temporary licenses will not be granted for secondary letting (i.e. where whole properties are to be let) and so is only an option for those looking to let out part of their own home.


Running your short-term let and now considering your options?

We’re experienced and will provide advice for any STL landlords considering their options. We can help you explore all your options including selling and switching the property over to long term rentals. Just contact our team on 0131 221 8289 or at [email protected].