Short term lets: planning guidance for hosts and operators

This draft planning guidance is intended for hosts and operators of short-term lets. A separate planning circular has been prepared for planning authorities.

Annex B: Meaning of short-term let in a control area

Section 26B of the 1997 Act, and the Control Area Regulations define a short term let for the purposes of the control areas. Use of a dwellinghouse for the purpose of providing short-term lets is deemed to be a material change of use in a control area. Planning permission is therefore required for short-term letting of any house or flat within a control area.

Note: the proposed Licensing Order would amend the Control Area Regulations and these amendments are not reflected below.

Section 26B(3) excludes:

  • private residential tenancies under section 1 of the Private Housing (Tenancies) Scotland Act 2016; and
  • tenancies of a dwellinghouse or part of it where all or part of the dwelling house is the only or principal home of the landlord or occupier

Regulation 2 of the Control Area Regulations defines a short-term let as provided where all of the following criteria are met:

a) sleeping accommodation is provided to one or more persons for one or more nights for commercial consideration,

b) no person to whom sleeping accommodation is provided is an immediate family member of the person by whom the accommodation is being provided,

c) the accommodation is not provided for the principal purpose of facilitating the provision of work or services to the person by whom the accommodation is being provided or to another member of that person's household,

d) the accommodation is not provided by an employer to an employee in terms of a contract of employment or for the better performance of the employee's duties, and

e) the accommodation is not excluded accommodation (see below)

An immediate family member includes parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and siblings on both sides of a relationship of marriage, civil partnership or where the couple live together as if they were married. It also treats children with one parent in common as siblings and stepchildren as children.

Excluded accommodation means a dwellinghouse which is, or is part of—

  • a hotel,
  • a boarding house,
  • a guest house,
  • a hostel,
  • residential accommodation where care is provided to people in need of care,
  • a hospital or nursing home,
  • a residential school, college or training centre,
  • secure residential accommodation (including a prison, young offenders institution, detention centre, secure training centre, custody centre, short-term holding centre, secure hospital, secure local authority accommodation or accommodation used as military barracks),
  • a refuge,
  • student accommodation,
  • an aparthotel.



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