Scotland Short-Let Regulations - Regular Update
Scotland Short-term Lettings Regulations
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24th February 2021
News from the Short-term Accommodation Association:
Today, the Scottish Parliament today voted in favour of the Planning Order (S5M-23719) for short-term lets with 107 votes in favour and 8 against. This means that the Control Area Regulations will come into force on 1 April 2021. Further details on the instrument can be found here and the text of the legislation here.
Last week, the Scottish Government separately withdrew the short-term lets licensing scheme order from the Scottish Parliament in order to allow for draft guidance to be developed. Subject to Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021, the Licensing Order will be re-laid in June 2021, along with the guidance.
Key points on the Planning Order:
- The passage of the Planning Order means that local authorities will be able to designate certain areas as short-term let control zones from April 2021. In these zones, short-term rentals in non-primary residences will be subject to planning permission.
- Regarding the establishment of control areas, in its consultation report (which is broadly in line with the proposed legislation), the Scottish Government stated that Planning Authorities must consult on proposals for control areas. Ministers will then be asked to approve control areas (and variations of control areas) and will also need to be notified of variations.
- The Scottish Government will also issue guidance on when local authorities should consider applying a discontinuation condition of 10 years when granting planning permission for secondary letting in a control area (or outside, if they see fit). This means that short-let businesses that have been in operation for more than ten years will be able to continue activities in a control area if they can produce the relevant evidence.
- The Scottish Government will also issue guidance on both what constitutes a material change of use with respect to the use of dwelling houses as short-term lets outside control areas, and on the relevant considerations in determining a planning application with respect to changes in any area.
STAA actions and next steps:
- The STAA wrote to each MSP ahead of today’s vote urging them to vote against the legislation altogether, given that the licensing scheme will be brought back in June 2021 (subject to the Scottish Parliament elections in May). However, this regulation was always expected to pass.
- Local authorities will be able to establish control zones from April 2021, but it is unlikely that many will do so. A number of councils will wait for detailed guidance to establish the control zones in their areas.
- The STAA will continue to work with the Scottish Government via its working group to ensure that the new regulations are implemented in the best way possible for the industry.
18th February 2021
News from the Short-term Accommodation Association:
The Scottish Government has decided to withdraw the Licensing of Short-term Lets Order 2021 and to re-lay the Order in June 2021, subject to the outcome of the Scottish Parliament election in May.
The Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP announced a revised approach to the regulation of short-term lets in a letter to the Local Government and Communities Committee. The letter is available here.
The revised approach can be summarised as follows:
- The Scottish Government’s intention, subject to the outcome of the Scottish Parliament election in May 2021, is to re-lay the Order in June 2021.
- In June 2021, the Government aims to provide the draft guidance on the licensing scheme along with the new Order.
- The guidance will be developed in conjunction with the stakeholder working group, which is meant to identify any changes to the legislation that may be needed in the coming months. The draft guidance will also outline how the licensing scheme will operate in practice.
- The Government has said that the delay will allow:
- Them to address some technical points raised by the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee at the Scottish Parliament;
- Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and stakeholders to consider the Order in the context of draft guidance on the licensing scheme; and
- Any other adjustments needed to the legislation following further stakeholder engagement.
It is important to note that it is only the licensing rules which have been delayed. The Scottish Statutory Instrument implementing planning controls in Short Term Let Control Zones will go ahead as planned in the coming weeks. This legislation is expected to pass.
Short-term Accommodation Association (STAA) actions
It appears that the volume of concerns raised by those within the industry about the licensing scheme has had an impact on Scottish Parliamentarians, with all of Scotland’s opposition parties set to reject the licensing regulations as they currently appear.
Over the last three months, the STAA has worked hard to secure a workable outcome for our industry and we are glad that all our efforts have contributed to today's outcome. In the past two weeks, we sent a letter to each and every member of the Scottish Parliament outlining our concerns with the proposals and urging them to vote against the regulations. We also gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Local
Government & Communities Committee to provide feedback on key issues ahead of the Committee vote.
This comes after our response to the initial Scottish government consultation which secured improvements to the proposals, including a narrower definition of short-term lets; mandatory consultation and Ministerial consent over any proposed control areas; the right for some existing short-let businesses to continue to operate within control areas; an extra year for hosts to apply for a licence; and the ability for temporary licences to be issued for up to 6 weeks in a year.
Today, the Licensing proposals were temporarily withdrawn, but much work remains to be done. We will continue to work constructively with the Scottish government to try and ensure that whatever is re-introduced will be workable for our industry and introduced at the appropriate time.
5th February 2021
The short version
The Scottish Parliament has voted to enact the short-let regulations from April 2021, with a final deadline for licencing by April 2024. ALTIDO joined the UK Short-Term Accommodation Association (STAA) to be the first to know about the regulations and lobby on behalf of our clients.
We are here to guide you through this process. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The long version
Today, the Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Communities Committee voted in favour of the proposed regulations for short-term lets.
Planning Order (S5M-23719) passed by 6 votes to 1; and Licensing Order (S5M-23718) passed by 4 votes to 3.
This means that the new regulations will apply from this April. Existing hosts have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a license, and all hosts must be licensed by 1 April 2024. Further details on each of the instruments can be found here. It was the hard work of the STAA which extended these deadlines to a palatable time-frame.
- During the debate, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart stated that he is open to further revisions over the implementation period.
- He also reiterated that the Scottish Government will continue to work with industry stakeholders. The Government has established a working group with local authorities and industry members to design guidance for implementing the regulations. The STAA will be part of this working group.
- The Minister stated that the Scottish Government will continue to monitor and evaluate the impact of the legislation to ensure that it is effective and targeted, and may make adjustments in the next Parliament if necessary.
- The next steps remain unchanged for members (see below).
- 1 April 2021: The Licensing Order and Control Area Regulations (Planning Order) will come into force.
- Spring 2021: The Scottish Government will publish distinct guidance for local authorities and, separately, hosts and platforms.
- 1 April 2022: Deadline for Local Authorities to establish a licensing scheme in their area.
- 1 April 2023: Deadline for existing hosts to apply for a licence.
- 1 April 2024: Deadline for all hosts providing short-term let accommodation in Scotland to be licensed.
ALTIDO and the STAA will continue to work with the Scottish Government via its working group to ensure that the new regulations are implemented in the best way possible for the industry.
What is the licencing scheme?
It is a mandatory registration and licencing scheme to ensure that landlords who are short-term letting their property adhere to health & safety, social impact and professional standards.
We are confident that we can guide our clients through the licencing process over the next 3 years because we are adhering to most of these licencing requirements already.
What are Control Area Regulations?
Powers devolved to local councils to implement control zones in all or part of their geographical jurisdiction requiring landlords to apply for a change of use to continue "secondary letting" activities.
Planning Authorities must consult on proposals for control areas. Ministers will then be asked to approve control areas (and variations of control areas) and will also need to be notified of variations i.e. local councils will have to go through a consultation process and gain ministerial approval before instating a control zone.
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