Do you operate short-term lets in Edinburgh or Glasgow?

New legislation means it will be a criminal offence to let out properties in Scotland on a short-term basis without holding a licence granted by the local authority. 

The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are currently consulting on their draft licensing policies. Kevin Clancy, Partner in our commercial disputes team, outlines the key points of each draft and how you can have your say.

19th August 2022

The letting of properties in Scotland on a short-term basis will now be licensed from 1 October 2022. Please see our earlier article for background on this topic, and keep an eye out for further guidance notes to be published over the coming weeks.  

New legislation means it will be a criminal offence to let out properties on a short-term basis without holding a licence granted by the local authority.

The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are currently consulting on their draft licensing policies. The Edinburgh survey and draft policy can be found here. The Glasgow survey and draft policy can be found here.

Some of the key points from the draft policies are set out below. If you are currently renting out properties in either city, this consultation gives you the opportunity to have your say and inform each local authority’s approach to licensing. The Glasgow consultation closes on 25 August and the Edinburgh consultation closes on 5 September.

Overview of Glasgow’s draft short-term let licensing policy

  • Planning permission (or a certificate of lawfulness): will be required for home letting or secondary letting that is a flat (in terms of the Council policy requirements for planning permission); the Committee may require that planning permission accompanies the application for a short-term letting licence.
  • Control areas: none currently planned. 
  • Licence period: up to three years for a first application and up to five years for a renewal application (if there are no objections, enforcement action, etc).
  • Fees: the draft policy notes that licence fees will start from £250.
  • Temporary exemptions: the Committee may agree that none are granted (except for national events in Glasgow).
  • Temporary licences: the Committee may agree that none are granted.
  • Determination of applications: if there are no objections, applications will be granted under delegated authority, without the need for a Committee Hearing. 
  • Key consultation questions include:
    • The Council is seeking views on temporary licences and exemptions.  
    • The Council is seeking views on the additional conditions to be imposed.
    • The Council is seeking views on its method of calculating maximum occupancy capacity.

Overview of Edinburgh’s draft short-term let licensing policy

  • Control area: the entire city. If a secondary let is located within a control area, it will be necessary to first secure planning permission (or a certificate of lawfulness) for the use of that property for short-term lets before the short-term let licence application can progress (but, see also our comments below when the property is a tenement or has a shared main door).Licence period: secondary letting is one year while home sharing/home letting is three years. Fees: these are not yet set out in the policy.
  • Temporary exemptions: home sharing and home letting only (for festival, Christmas, sporting and international events). 
  • Temporary licences: generally only suitable for home sharing and home letting.
  • Tenement/shared main door: the Council believes these properties are unsuitable for short-term lets/secondary letting due to character, location and nuisance. etc. Two options have been proposed:

a.    Rebuttable presumption against secondary letting and shared main door accommodation.

b.    Rebuttable presumption unless consent from all owners within stair or close .

  • Determination of applications: if there are no objections, applications will be granted under delegated authority, without the need for a Committee Hearing.
  • Key consultation questions include:
    • The Council is seeking views on whether Option A or Option B would be best for secondary lettings in tenement/shared main door flats. 
    • The Council is also asking questions on whether home lettings should have a limit on the number of nights (4/6/10/12 weeks, or no limit). 
    • The Council is seeking views on temporary licences and exemptions.  
    • The Council is seeking views on the additional conditions to be imposed.

For further information on this topic, please get in touch with Kevin Clancy, Partner and licensing specialist in our commercial disputes team, or your usual Shepherd and Wedderburn contact.