Short-term lets: letter to local authorities on updated licensing guidance

Letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government to local authorities regarding updated licensing guidance

To: Local Authority Housing Conveners

Cc: Local Authority Chief Executives;

Councillor Parry, COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing

By e-mail


01 April 2022

Dear Councillors,


I am writing to advise you that we recently published updated guidance for the licensing of short-term lets, which can be found here: Short-term lets: regulation information - ( These updates reflect the final provisions set out in the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2022, which was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 19 January 2022 and came into force on 1 March 2022. From 1 October 2022, this Order requires authorities to have established schemes in their areas to accept licensing applications from short-term let hosts and operators.

Licensing guidance for short-term lets

Amendments to the guidance reflect discussions with, and contributions from, local government officials as well as our stakeholder working group, which includes representation from COSLA, Local Authority Environmental Health Officers, Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO), Heads of Planning Scotland and Scottish Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators (SOLAR).

Through these discussions we’ve been able to ensure the guidance provides greater clarity about policy objectives and our expectations of how licensing authorities will operate their schemes and set their fee structures, including taking a risk based approach to determining licence applications and the inspection of premises. This will assist authorities to adopt a cost recovery approach that is proportionate and fair, and not onerous to administer.

Data collection

The Licensing Order specifies the data licensing authorities must include in their public registers. The updated licensing guidance (Part 2: for licensing authorities and platforms) also sets out additional data fields we expect authorities to include in their quarterly data return to the Scottish Government. We intend to work with you in coming months to agree the operational process and to finalise the content of this quarterly return.

I would like to thank you in anticipation of your cooperation and support with this request. Collection of this full range of data consistently across Scotland will enable us to undertake robust analysis to monitor and evaluate the policy, as well as to monitor the rollout of the short-term let licensing scheme.


I am aware my policy officials are continuing to engage with COSLA and other national forums such as the Scottish Housing Network, SOLAR and ALACHO about general implementation matters. We would like to gather a comprehensive picture about local areas’ readiness to deliver short-term let licensing across Scotland. I would therefore be grateful if you could complete a short survey (8 questions) by 2 May 2022 about your authority’s preparation to establish its licensing scheme for 1 October 2022. The link to the survey can be found here: If you have any questions about short-term lets licensing please send these to

Yours sincerely,


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