Short-term lets - licensing scheme and planning control area legislation: draft business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA)
Business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) relating to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2021 (“the Licensing Order”) and the Town And Country Planning (Short-Term Let Control Areas) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (“the Control Area Regulations”).
C1. Within Government
42. The Short-Term Lets Delivery Group was established in 2018 to assess the evidence base and the impact, positive and negative, of short-term lets, identify the existing powers councils have and explore whether further measures are required. The Group comprised officials from across relevant areas of government including: better regulation, community empowerment, economy, housing, licensing, planning, tax and tourism.
43. We have also engaged with local government through local authority heads of planning, environmental health, licensing and housing officers and COSLA.
44. We have engaged with Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, both of whom have an important role to play in the licensing scheme. VisitScotland also provided input through the virtual workshops held as part of the 2020 consultation.
C2. Public Consultation
45. In April 2019, the Scottish Government launched a public consultation and commissioned independent research into the impact of short-term lets on people and communities. The 2019 consultation paper outlined possibilities for a regulatory approach, which included the licensing of short-term lets. The paper noted the range of approaches adopted in cities and countries around the world and asked for opinions on the types of short-term lets which should be regulated and the controls which should be applied. In parallel with the 2019 consultation, what is now the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 completed its passage through the Scottish Parliament and includes provision for the establishment of short-term let control areas.
46. In May 2019, the Scottish Government commissioned Indigo House, in collaboration with IBP Strategy and Research and Professor Rae from the University of Sheffield, to address gaps in the available evidence on the impact of short-term lets on housing and communities. The results of this research are reported above in Section B3.
47. Broadly speaking, the same themes, benefits and concerns were highlighted by people at 2019 consultation events, those responding to the 2019 consultation and the independent research. The reports on the 2019 consultation and research were published on 28 October 2019.
48. A further (2020) consultation was carried out from 14 September to 16 October 2020 covering: the definition of short-term lets; the establishment of control areas under the powers created by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019; and the establishment of a licensing scheme under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. The purpose of the 2020 consultation was to help the Scottish Government ensure that the legislation laid at the Scottish Parliament in December 2020 was as efficient and effective as possible. The report on this consultation was published in December 2020.
49. From the outset, the Scottish Government has had constructive engagement with Airbnb, the Association of Scottish Self Caterers (ASSC) and the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), bodies with a strong interest in short-term lets in Scotland; all of whom are keen to promote best practice and high quality and standards. They have engaged with Scottish Government through and beyond both the 2019 consultation and the 2020 consultation.
50. The 2020 consultation report (at Annex B) details the virtual workshops held over the 2020 consultation period and business was well-represented at these events. We heard from:
- Accommodation providers – ranging from Airbnb hosts, to self-catering businesses, serviced apartments and aparthotels;
- Accrediting organisations – Electrical Safety First, Firescape, Quality in Tourism and Superhog (Guardhog) Technologies;
- Channel managers and hosting intermediaries – Altido, Passthekeys, SpotHost, Houst, Booksterhq, GuestReady;
- Letting agents, platforms and aparthotels – EdLets, Airbnb, booking.com, HomeAway (Expedia), Sykes Cottages, Sonder, Palm Holdings (Edinburgh) and StayCity;
- Tourism and business – ETAG, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Skye Connect, UK Hospitality, Visit Arran; and
- Trade associations – STAA and ASSC.
51. We also held a workshop with the Regulatory Review Group.
C4. Stakeholder Working Group
52. In February 2021, the Scottish Government established a stakeholder working group to help develop draft guidance on the licensing scheme and planning control areas, with the aim that it is comprehensive, helpful and easy to understand. The working group was also tasked with considering any changes that may be required to the 2020 Licensing Order.
53. Representation on the group reflected the diverse nature of the short-term letting market, and included members from: local authorities, trade associations, short-term let platforms, Visit Scotland, representatives of urban and rural residents, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and the Scottish Government’s independent Regulatory Review Group. A full list of members can be found at: Short-Term Lets Stakeholder Working Group - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).
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