The Scottish government has revised its planned licensing scheme for short term lets after concerns were raised by the sector during a consultation earlier this year.
In February, it passed legislation designed to make it easier for local authorities to manage the short term lets market, allowing councils to establish control zones where any property operating as a short term let for more than 28 days a year would need planning consent.
It also announced plans to introduce a mandatory licensing scheme.
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison has now outlined changes ahead of laying the licensing legislation in the Scottish Parliament next month.
These include the removal of overprovision powers, a simplification of the way that neighbours are notified about licence applications, reducing public liability insurance requirements, and removing personal names from the public register.
Revised guidance will be developed with stakeholders, with an emphasis on a risk-based, intelligence-led approach to property inspections as well as keeping costs and fees under control, says Robison.
“Following our recent consultation and engagement with stakeholders, we are making some pragmatic and significant changes to improve the proposed legislation. We are therefore addressing issues raised by stakeholders whilst still allowing licensing authorities to ensure short-term lets are safe and address issues faced by neighbours.”
She adds: “This means local authorities can respond to the needs and concerns of local communities and neighbours to short-term lets without imposing onerous bureaucracy on responsible tourism businesses.”
Shomik Panda, director general of the Short Term Accommodation Association, says it welcomes the decision.
He adds: “We believe that the changes that the Scottish government has announced today are a positive step in the right direction, although we will continue to push for further improvements for our members, including a grandfathering provision and auto-renewals of licences. We look forward to continued engagement in Scotland, to build the best set of regulations that we can for all.”
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