It’s less than 5 months to go until the deadline for existing hosts to apply for a license to continue to operate their short term let in Scotland.


Short term let licensing

Since 1st October 2022, new operators have had to apply for a license to start renting out the property as a short-term let. Existing hosts did have until 31st March 2023 to submit their application for a license but this was extended to 30th September 2023


There has been a heavy amount of criticism of the legislation and the inconsistencies between different local authorities’ interpretation and implementation of the law. According to the Association of Self Caterers (ASSC) only 20% of hosts have applied for a license so far.


An ongoing challenge to the Licensing scheme

A number of parties within the self catering industry have joined forces as Save Self Catering in Scotland (SSCS) to represent the self-catering community as a whole and have crowd-funded more than £300,000 to fund a legal case to challenge Edinburgh Council’s licensing scheme. At the end of last year, SSCS lodged a petition for a Judicial Review of the scheme, following which arguments were submitted and the case was due to be heard this month. Their hope is that they can force a review of Edinburgh’s licensing scheme and pave the way for licensing schemes in other local authorities throughout Scotland to be reviewed.


The rationale behind the case is that the licensing schemes have gone way further than the intended purpose of ensuring that holiday let properties across Scotland met adequate health and safety standards. It’s their opinion that Edinburgh Council’s licensing scheme goes far beyond the spirit of the Scottish Government’s legislation and instead the council are using the legislation to significantly reduce the number of short-term lets in the city and that it’s now unlikely that most operators will gain a license. SSCS hope that the Court will make a determination on all or some parts of the current licensing legislation and that Edinburgh Council will go back to the drawing board and create a licensing scheme that is fair, fit for purpose and is focused on the health and safety of guests.


So, what next? 

It could take up to 3 months to hear the judges decision on the case so until there’s any further news, existing hosts should prepare for the 30th of September by working through and submitting their application, ensuring they have everything in order as required as part of the application (this includes a Fire Risk Assessment, electrical, gas and legionella safety certificates, plans, insurances and not forgetting planning permission).

If you’re considering alternative options for your short-term let property, please get in touch with our New Client Advisors by email at [email protected], or by phone at 0131 221 8280 or by carrying a free, no-obligation online rental and sales valuation of your property.