Rules for short-term lets coming in the Autumn

Short term lets

Legislation introduced by the Scottish Government regarding the licensing of short-term lets is due to come into force on 1st October this year.

The new provisions have been put in place to ensure basic safety standards are met across all short-term lets operating in Scotland, and to address concerns of local communities by providing some discretionary powers to licensing authorities. 

Locally, Shetland Islands Council’s Environmental Health team will manage this process. Proposals will be put to Councillors for approval in September and before then views are being sought on how short-term lets could be managed locally through a short survey  The closing date for responses is 14th August 2022. 

One important question is whether temporary exemptions should be granted to hosts during important community events such as Up Helly Aa, Tall Ships Race, or festivals such as the Shetland Folk Festival or the Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival. 

The definition of a short-term let is wide and includes letting out accommodation that is not your principal home, such as self-catering cottages, B&Bs, glamping pods, yurts etc; or temporarily renting a room or rooms in your own home, or letting your home while you are away.  However, there are also many exclusions including alcohol licenced premises, hotels, privately rented properties or rooms used as a permanent home, care homes, hostels and worker accommodation. 

Further guidance for short-term let hosts and operators is available on the Scottish Government website, clarifying what type of accommodation falls within scope of the legislation, what hosts and operators need to do to apply for a licence and how they can comply with the new requirements. All short-term lets will have to comply with specific mandatory conditions relating to the safety of the accommodation. 

The Council will be ready to accept applications from current short–term let operators and hosts from 1st October 2022. Short-term lets operating before this date will be able to continue taking bookings until their applications are determined as long as they have applied for their licence by 1st April 2023 and a temporary licence number will then be issued. 

From 1st October 2022 any new hosts and operators will have to obtain a licence before they can accept any bookings and individuals, letting agencies and other platforms, such as Airbnb and Tourist Associations, will need a valid licence number before these lets can be advertised.

David Robertson, Team Leader – Environmental Health, said: “By understanding the varied picture of short term lets and accommodation in Shetland, we can shape how this scheme will best operate locally.  We’re really keen to hear from anyone who provides short-term lets in Shetland and I’d urge them to give us their thoughts through our survey.”   

Published: 14th July 2022