Short term lets - licensing scheme part 1: guidance for hosts and operators

Licensing guidance intended for hosts and operators of short-term lets in Scotland. There is also supplementary guidance for licensing authorities to which you can refer for more detailed information.

3. Making an application for a licence

(a) Overview

3.1. For each premises, you need to decide whether you are applying for:

a) a licence for home sharing;

b) a licence for home letting

c) a licence for home sharing and home letting; or

d) a licence for secondary letting.

3.2. This is because your licensing authority will only grant one type of licence per premises and may treat these applications differently, for example in terms of fees payable or if your premises is in a control area.

3.3. A reciprocal home exchange would be considered home letting and would require a licence if it is in the course of business. No licence is required where home-swapping is not in the course of business. Whether an individual’s use of their property is in the course of business, and therefore requires a licence, will depend on the circumstances of the case.

(b) Application checklist

3.4. The checklist at Annex B may support you in preparing your application, however, please view the licensing authority's website to check any additional points (e.g. around fees and additional conditions) specific to that authority that may apply.

3.5. Your licensing authority website will have a copy of the application form and instructions about how to complete and submit it.

3.6. Your application will be considered incomplete and returned to you if you do not include all the information requested.

(c) Who should be named on the application

Hosts and operators

3.7. You, as the host or operator, should be named on the application form. The host or operator may be the owner(s) of the premises, tenant(s) of the premises or agents managing the premises on behalf of an owner.


3.8. The owner(s) of the premises should be named on the application form.

3.9. Where accommodation or premises is jointly owned, all owners must be named on the application form.

3.10. Where accommodation or premises is owned by a business, for example as part of a portfolio, all company directors, partners, or other persons responsible for its management must be named on the application form.

Day-to-day management

3.11. Any people that you are asking to carry out the day-to-day management of your accommodation should be named on your application. For example, this might be a spouse, a friend or someone you employ.

3.12. If you have a letting agency to manage your accommodation, then your application form should name the directors, partners or others responsible for the letting agency. However, the employees of the agency do not need to be named.

3.13. You should not name everyone with any involvement in your arrangements. For example, cleaners and others who enter the premises are not to be named on your application for that reason alone.

3.14. After the licence is granted, you may decide to make different arrangements for the day-to-day management of your premises (such as passing responsibility for the day-to-day management to a letting agency) but you must first notify and obtain the approval of your licensing authority.

3.15. If you want to appoint a new agent or day-to-day manager of your premises, you should contact your licensing authority to find out how to make that change.

(d) Owners' consent

3.16. Where accommodation is owned by multiple owners either of the following will be required:

a) a declaration from each other owner, or each owner, that they consent to the application, or

b) a declaration from a person who is authorised to act on behalf of all the owners.

(e) Fit and proper person test

3.17. Everybody named on the application form will be subject to the fit and proper person test.

3.18. Licensing authorities are responsible for determining whether you are a fit and proper person to offer property for short-term lets in their area. Your licensing authority is likely to take account of the following:

a) relevant criminal convictions and other relevant information from the police;

b) being disqualified from being a private landlord or having had letting agent or property factor registration revoked now or in the past;

c) having had a licence for short-term lets or House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) revoked by any licensing authority;

d) having had an application for a short-term lets licence refused by any licensing authority; and

e) providing false or misleading information in an application for a short-term lets licence, HMO licence or application to be a private landlord.

3.19. Licensing authorities can also consider any other information they consider to be relevant. They will liaise with the police for information as appropriate. They have powers to request additional information, or make reasonable enquiries, for example to verify the details of all property owners.

3.20. The purpose of collecting this information is to assess the fitness of applicants and any agents (or day-to-day managers) to be involved in providing property for short-term lets.

3.21. The purpose of these checks is to: protect neighbours, guests and other people from harm and crime; and to assist the police in law enforcement.

3.22. Your application will be refused by your licensing authority if, in their opinion, you (or your agent) are not a fit and proper person to have a licence[25].

(f) Duration of your licence

3.23. The maximum duration for your first licence is 3 years. When you apply to renew your licence, your licensing authority could grant it for a longer period. Your licensing authority may grant licences of different durations to different hosts and operators. The reason for this should be set out in the licensing authority's policy.

3.24. Different licensing authorities may have different policies and you should check your licensing authorities website for more information.

(g) Fees

3.25. You will need to pay a fee with your application. The exact fee that you need to pay may depend on a number of factors e.g. how many guests you want to accommodate or the number of bedrooms in your property. Your licensing authority's website will have information on the fees they charge and the methods of payment they accept.

3.26. If you have premises in more than one licensing authority area, the fees you pay may be different, even for a similarly sized property. This is because the number of short-term lets vary across areas and licensing authorities can only set fee levels on a cost recovery basis.

3.27. Fee levels are ultimately set by licensing authorities, usually agreed by the area's Licensing Committee, Executive or Full Council and made up of locally elected councillors.

3.28. If your application is refused, your fee will not be refunded. However, you may receive a partial refund.

3.29. If your licensing authority chooses to refuse to consider your application because you need to get planning permission first, they will tell you about this within seven days of making that decision. You will be able to resubmit your licensing application without paying any further fee provided you do this within 28 days of planning permission being granted.



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