New legislation has been approved for short-term lets or holiday lets across all of Scotland and the countdown has started. Big changes are on their way and it’s going to be hugely significant for Edinburgh


What’s changing?

Starting in October 2022, local authorities will be responsible for granting licenses for short-term or holiday lets and these licenses will be contingent on a number of conditions as well as the number of pre-existing licenses that have been granted in the area. Owners of holiday lets will have many new obligations to meet for their property to be eligible but even that will not be enough for a license if the local authority deem there to be enough licensed holiday lets in the area already.


Safety Certificates come into line with long-term lets

Many of the conditions of granting a license relate to safety certificates similar to those that have existed in long-term lets for years. Some of these are annual gas safety checks, electrical checks every 5 years, fire safety requirements and legionella risk assessments. This closes a glaring loophole that has existed between short-term and long-term lets relating to the safety of the properties. Properties will also have to meet the repairing standards that apply to long-term lets, something they never previously had to comply with.


Planning permission required in Edinburgh

In February 2022, the City of Edinburgh Council approved the proposal to make Edinburgh a short-term lets control area. This means that anyone wishing to run a short-term let in Edinburgh once the new laws go live will require planning permission from the council in advance of their application for a license. Edinburgh council has a stated aim of reducing the number of short-term lets operating in the capital and this new legislation will allow them to do exactly that.


No more keys boxes

The new legislation will see the end of key boxes visible on Edinburgh’s city streets. A condition of the licensing in Edinburgh will be that properties must be accessed directly by the guests without the use of key boxes and, possibly, communal door entries.


Other controls in licensing

As well as obtaining planning permission, paying the necessary fees and having safety certificates up to scratch, owners of holiday lets will need to make their contact details, and those of any managing agent available, so the council know which properties are being used for short-term lets and who is responsible. There may even be a public searchable register similar to that of long-term lets. This will help control, monitor and resolve any anti-social behaviour in holiday lets. Owners and their managing agents will have to pass a fit and proper person test and then if a license is granted there will be a limitation on the number of people allowed in a short-term let which will be related to the size of the property. Many pre-existing holiday lets will see their capacities reduced as a result.


Decisions ahead for short-term let owners

From 1st October 2022, any new short-term or holiday lets in Scotland will require a license while existing holiday lets will have until 1st April 2023. Owners of holiday lets will have to review the new costs, hassle and potential impact on occupancy of their lets before deciding if they will pursue a license for their holiday let. Compare this to the predictable and stable environment of long-term letting and the likely impact is that many investors in Edinburgh will be changing over from short-term to long-term lets over the next 12 months.

If this is something you are considering or if you would like to discuss anything from this blog in more detail, please get in touch for a free, no-obligation discussion about your options.