Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): second homes guidance

Published: 23 Nov 2020
Last updated: 20 Jan 2021 - see all updates

Guidance outlining how Scotland's route map for easing out of lockdown restrictions applies to second homes. 

Published:
23 Nov 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): second homes guidance

Overview

Scotland has a new five level system to help tackle the spread of COVID-19.   Please refer to the Coronavirus (COVID-19): protection levels advice and guidance for more information.

From Tuesday 5 January 2021, mainland Scotland moved into temporary lockdown, with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes. Some islands remain at Level 3. Scottish Government advice is to stay home to protect the NHS and save lives.

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible. By law, in a Level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose.

This guidance outlines how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) protection levels and temporary lockdown apply to second homes. 

Please keep up to date with this and all Scottish Government guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) and follow the latest health, hygiene and physical distancing requirements.

This guidance applies to second homes located in Scotland. If you are intending to travel to or from your second home, to or from a destination outside Scotland, you must comply with the restrictions applying in that country and those that affect your travel too.

Please ensure that you will be able to complete your journey before setting out and check the latest guidance on travel and transport.

Leisure

Level 3: You should not travel into or out of a level 3 area for holidays or visits. If you are living in a Level 3 area you can travel to your second home (including to a second home let as self-catering accommodation) and stay there with members of your household (or extended household only) if it is in the same level 3 local authority area as your usual home location.

You must not travel into or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas except for essential reasons. See further guidance on travel and transport and view maps of local authority area boundaries.

Level 4: You should not travel to your second home for leisure purposes. To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible.  By law, in a Level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose.  All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism 

Please see the Coronavirus COVID-19: stay at home guidance for a list of examples of reasonable excuses to go out.

Upkeep and maintenance

Level 3:  You may travel to your second home for activities in connection with the maintenance of the home you own or are otherwise responsible for. Travelling for the purposes of undertaking maintenance on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday.  You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.

Tradespeople can work in other people’s homes providing they follow guidance on working safely. This includes all in-home workers such as utility engineers, domestic cleaners, furniture delivery and installations.

Please see the latest guidance on safer workplaces and information and guidance on travel.

Level 4:  Whilst it is currently permitted to conduct activities in connection with moving home or the essential maintenance, purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property that you own or are responsible for you are strongly advised to postpone at this time, if possible. 

Travel for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence must not be used as a pretext for a holiday.  You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.

You should stay as close to home as possible in order to protect the NHS and save lives. 

Tradespeople should only go into a house to carry out or deliver essential work or services

Please see the latest guidance on safer workplaces and information and guidance on travel.

Letting out a second home to others

Level 3: You may be able to let out your second home to others but you and they must comply with Coronavirus (COVID-19): protection levels advice and guidance including guidance on restrictions on social gatherings, and travel relevant to their journey and route.

Level 4:  In a level 4 area all holiday accommodation is closed to tourism. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only. Please see the Coronavirus COVID-19: stay at home guidance for a list of examples of essential customers.

For more information about self-catering holiday accommodation see the latest tourism and hospitality guidance and the latest guidance on safer workplaces.

Selling a second home or moving into a second home

You can sell your second home or move into your second home to live there permanently.  

Whilst it is currently permitted to conduct activities in connection with moving home or the essential maintenance, purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property that you own or are responsible for you are strongly advised to postpone at this time, if possible.

You should search for property online and do viewings virtually in the first instance. Only physically view a property which you most likely want to move into.

Please see our home moves guidance for more information about moving home, and   selling and buying residential property.

If you live outside Scotland

Activities relating to second homes in Scotland are bound by Scots law and guidance, irrespective of where you are travelling from. You must also comply with any relevant rules in your country of origin and countries through which you travel.

Travellers arriving in Scotland from certain countries and regions overseas may be required, by law, to quarantine by self-isolation for 10 days after arrival. See the list of countries to which this applies.  The list is reviewed frequently against the evidence available and it changes from time to time.  They must stay in the place in Scotland that they are residing (with the exception if resident on the islands remaining in Level 3), unless travelling for essential purposes.

If you travel back from a country, to which the quarantine rule applies, to another part of the UK, but your final destination is Scotland, you must follow the rules that are in place in Scotland. 

Council tax

You continue to be liable for council tax for your second home.  If you have any questions about council tax in respect of your second home, or want to discuss your particular circumstances, please contact the council in whose area your home is located. Please bear in mind that councils are exceptionally busy at this time responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

First published: 23 Nov 2020 Last updated: 20 Jan 2021 -