Days per year limit
206. As noted in the consultation, the Scottish Government wishes to see Scotland's homes productively occupied for as much of the time as possible. The regulatory framework establishing a licensing regime could allow councils to set other controls and conditions such as the number of days per year for which accommodation may be made available for short-term lets. For example, there could be a 90-day restriction on any person wanting to rent their property over the course of a 12 month period; exceeding this limit would require a change of use. Question 20 asked,
Q20: 'Do you have any comments on the effectiveness of a days per year limit in meeting the Scottish Government's objectives?'
207. A total of 610 respondents commented at this question and the following table provides a breakdown of those who responded.
Table 24: Q20
|Host with 1 property||144|
|Host with 2+ properties||61|
|Hotel / B&B owner||9|
|Other (non short-term let) landlord||8|
208. The most common response to this question, as cited by a small minority of respondents, was disagreement with a days per year limit for short-term lets (only a few respondents agreed). There was more support for this from hosts with single and multiple properties, platforms and hotels / B&Bs. Reasons given included that this would result in job losses, tourists choosing to travel elsewhere, that this is bad for communities which rely on tourism for the local economy or that this would not result in more properties being available to the local community. Other negative impacts from the introduction of a days per year limit included that this would encourage people to leave flats empty or that this would go against Scottish Government policy of wanting to maximise housing usage.
209. In contrast, a few respondents felt a days per year limit would be effective. Most did not provide any details as to why they felt this would be effective but there were very few mentions that this would reduce disruption to residents and tenants in other properties outwith the key tourist season, that this is an approach that has been taken by other cities or that this would be a deterrent for potential short-term lets entering the market.
210. Overall, a small minority of respondents made suggestions for the number of days which should be applied in a days per year limit, although there was little by way of consensus. Limitations were supported by respondents across all sub-groups, although hosts tended to support a higher level of days per year limit and affected residents tended to support lower levels of days per year. Suggestions for the number of days included:
- No limit.
- A minimum of 14 days.
- No more than 14 days.
- 28 days or less per year.
- 30 days per year.
- 40 days per year.
- 45 days per year.
- 50 days per year.
- 60 days per year.
- Less than 90 days.
- 90 days per year.
- 100 days per year.
- 140 days per year (with some reference that this would coordinate with HMRC and SBBS).
- 180 days per year.
- 210 days per year.
211. A very small number of respondents suggested that rather than have a limit on the number of days per year, there should be a limit on the number of lets in a year; for example, a limit of four licensed lets per year but with no limit on the number of nights of each let.
212. Once again, some respondents differentiated between those who share their properties and those who rent out whole properties, with suggestions that the former should not have a limit placed upon them.
213. As at some previous questions, there were calls from a few respondents - primarily local authorities and other businesses - for local flexibility as there is variation in demand and availability across Scotland. Examples provided included that days per year limits should be low (or short-term lets banned completely) in rent pressure zones but not in rural areas.
214. Once again, there were also a small number of respondents who noted their preference for a licensing system, or who noted the need for short-term lets to comply with health and safety regulations such as smoke detectors.
215. A small number of respondents noted the need for regulation, monitoring and oversight of all short-term lets, with some suggestions of the need for regulations along the lines as the private rented sector. That said, a few respondents queried who would be responsible for monitoring a scheme and noted that online accommodation platforms would need to co-operate with the Scottish Government in providing information. There were also some comments that this would be difficult to enforce in that it is possible for owners to circumvent the regulations, for example, by using multiple platforms for their properties.