Short term lets - licensing scheme part 2: supplementary guidance for licensing authorities, letting agencies and platforms

This draft licensing guidance Part 2 is intended for Scottish licensing authorities, letting agencies and platforms facilitating short-term lets in Scotland.

This guidance is now out of date. A new version will be available in March 2022.

1. Introduction

1.1. This Guidance Part 2 is intended for Scottish licensing authorities, letting agencies and platforms facilitating short-term lets in Scotland. This guidance is to be read with Part 1 of the guidance for hosts and operators (from now on known as “Guidance Part 1” (Paper 4). Material in Guidance Part 1 is not generally repeated in this guidance.

1.2. This Guidance Part 2 has been published and is freely available for hosts and operators to refer to for further information.

1.3. Separate guidance has been produced in respect of planning considerations for hosts and operators (Paper 6) and Planning Circular 1/2021 to assist planning authorities in establishing control areas. Hosts and operators must comply with both planning and licensing law.

1.4. This Guidance Part 2 is non-statutory and should not be interpreted as offering definitive legal advice. If in doubt, you should seek your own legal advice.

1.5. The Guidance Part 1 and Part 2 has been developed in consultation with the short-term lets stakeholder working group comprising a wide range of industry, local authority and community stakeholders (listed at Annex A). The Scottish Government is grateful to working group members for sharing their time and expertise to help shape this guidance. Editorial control rests with the Scottish Government and working group members were not asked to agree or endorse this guidance.

Purpose of guidance

1.6. This Guidance Part 2 is designed to help licensing authorities implement a licensing scheme in their area which is:

  • in line with the Scottish Government’s overall policy objectives for the licensing of short-term lets (see Guidance Part 1);
  • customised to the licensing authority’s local policies and the needs and circumstances of the licensing authority’s local area; and
  • efficient, effective and proportionate to the issues faced by residents and local communities in their area.

1.7. It is also aimed at letting agencies and platforms to help them understand, comply with and support the Scottish Government and licensing authorities in implementing their licensing schemes. They have an important part to play in making the schemes fully effective and in assisting with compliance and enforcement.

1.8. This guidance will guide licensing authorities through all the considerations in establishing and operating a licensing scheme. It will help letting agencies and platforms understand their role and the steps they should take to make the licensing scheme work to best effect for guests, hosts and operators and neighbours.

Language used in Guidance Part 2

1.9. The glossary for Guidance Part 1 has effect for this Guidance Part 2.

1.10. We additionally use the following terms from the 1982 Act and Licensing Order, where the circumstances require it:


means the person making the application for the licence, normally the host or operator; and

licence holder

means any one of the persons named on the licence application including, but not limited to, the host or operator.

1.11. In Guidance Part 2, we differentiate between the level of compulsion for licensing authorities, letting agencies and platforms loosely based on the MoSCoW rating:

must [do x]

means that [x] is a legal requirement on the licensing authority, letting agency or platform

should [do x]

means that the licensing authority, letting agency or platform is requested or strongly advised to do [x]

could /can [do x]

means that the licensing authority, letting agency or platform has [x] as an acceptable option open to them


1.12. This version of Guidance Part 2 is draft to accompany the laying of the Licensing Order in June 2021.

1.13. A final version of the Guidance Part 2 will be published in autumn 2021.

1.14. This Guidance Part 2 may need to be updated from time to time due to a range of factors, such as changes to legislation or suggestions for improvements from stakeholders. Ownership of this guidance rests with the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government will invite the stakeholder working group to participate in a review of the guidance in 2022.

1.15. The latest version will always be available at: Short-term lets: regulation information - (

1.16. We will notify licensing authorities of any updates.



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