Short-term lets: regulation information

Information about the regulation of short-term lets in Scotland.

The law around short-term lets changed on 1 October 2022. New hosts are required to apply for a short-term let licence before accepting bookings or receiving guests.

Licensing scheme

The short-term lets licensing scheme is mandatory for all short-term let accommodations across Scotland, including holiday cottages, B&Bs, guest houses, rooms within a home and unconventional accommodation such as pods and yurts.

You must obtain a licence from your local council to operate a short-term let property in Scotland.

To find out more, you can read the Short-term lets licensing scheme guide or use the Short-term lets checker tool on the site to see if you need a licence and what type of licence you need. 

If you who applied to the scheme before 1 October 2023 and were trading before October 2022 you can continue operating while the council considers your application.

If you apply to the scheme after 1 October 2023 you can advertise, but must not take bookings or receive guests until you have obtained a licence.

Short-term let control areas

Each local council has published a short-term let policy that sets out the mandatory conditions and any additional conditions for the council area.

Councils have the power to designate control areas to manage high concentrations of short-term lets. Edinburgh became Scotland’s first designated short-term let control area on 5 September 2022.

If your property falls within a control area, you must have planning permission to change the use of a dwellinghouse. Each planning application will be determined on its individual planning merits in line with local development plan and policies.

Details of short-term let licence applications are available via council public registers. These are updated at least quarterly. The legislation provides a number of exemptions. You should check guidance to see if this applies to you.

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