Short-term lets consultation: response analysis

Independent analysis of the responses submitted to the short-term lets consultation on a regulatory framework for Scotland.

Scope of a Regulatory Framework

178. The consultation paper proposed that, building upon these principles, a national framework would be established; empowering councils to establish regimes appropriate to their local needs. In terms of a regulatory framework, there are two key strands to be considered: first, the participants (what guests, hosts, platforms and service providers are or are not permitted to do); second, the accommodation (what is or is not required at the accommodation or whether the accommodation is permitted to be used for this purpose).

179. There are two approaches that could be adopted for a locally compulsory regime. These are registration (where the presumption is that the host is required to provide certain information and fee in relation to themselves and / or their accommodation) and licensing (where the host has to provide the requisite information and fee but is subject to oversight by the licensing authority to ensure that additional licence conditions are met). Both of these approaches can be supplemented by restrictions on whether the property may be used for short-term lets at all. Question 17 asked,

Q17: 'Do you have any comments on the proposed scope of a regulatory framework?'

180. A total of 406 respondents commented at this question. The following table provides a breakdown of those who chose to respond.

Table 21: Q17

Affected resident 186
Community organisation 32
Guest 19
Host with 1 property 92
Host with 2+ properties 49
Platform 2
Host intermediary 12
Hotel / B&B owner 8
Local authority 14
Other (non short-term let) landlord 6
Other business 23
Other 45
Total organisations 68
Individuals 338
Total respondents 406

181. A wide range of comments were made by respondents, although each was cited by a small number of respondents.

182. A few respondents noted their support for registration or licensing for short-term lets; and there was also a degree of support for both elements to be introduced. Support for licensing came from higher numbers of affected residents, guests and local authorities, while support for registration came from higher numbers of community organisations, hosts with one property and other businesses. There were also a very small number of comments (higher numbers of affected residents) that a licensing scheme would be preferable to registration as licences can be withdrawn. While only small numbers of respondents referred to whether a scheme should be mandatory or voluntary, a slightly larger number of respondents (higher numbers of affected residents and other landlords) supported the former than the latter.

183. There were also comments that any scheme which is introduced needs to be properly policed and enforced (cited by higher numbers of community organisations, hotels / B&Bs and local authorities), and that it needs to be simple (cited more by guests, hosts with a single property and host intermediaries). Furthermore, a small number of respondents were concerned that local authorities would struggle to cope with a regulatory framework without additional resources; cited by higher numbers of local authorities.

184. A few respondents supported a national framework, although views were mixed as to whether this should offer a consistent approach across Scotland, or whether there should be flexibility to allow for local differences to be taken into account. There was a degree of support for a national framework for regulations so that the short-term let market can operate in a consistent and predictable way but with flexibility for local authorities to apply their own regulations; this was supported more by local authorities and other businesses.

185. A small number of respondents commented that councils already have appropriate powers and there is no need for further regulation (cited more by guests, hosts and host intermediaries); and a similar number - primarily hosts - noted their support for the stance taken by the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers (ASSC) in favour of councils having the ability to use existing powers to control short-term lets. Once again, there were a small number of respondents who wanted to see all short-term lets subject to planning consents as well as a licensing regime.

186. One organisation did not want to see a mandatory scheme on a Scotland-wide basis, particularly because of the differing impacts of short-term lets in different areas of Scotland, and the differences in types of letting and letting properties.



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