Should Short Term Lets Be Regulated ?

Author: Alison Gourley
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There is a growing trend for people holidaying in the homes of others. This has provoked much debate. In response, a Short Term Lets Delivery Group was set up to look at the positive and negative impacts of short term lets and what powers local authorities may need to address major concerns.

Using the findings of the Delivery Group and some other evidence regarding short term lets, the Scottish Government has launched a consultation- Short Term Lets:  Consultation on a regulatory framework for Scotland.

The consultation has suggested that a short term let will occur if:

  • The accommodation is made available for a cumulative period of 28 days or more in any rolling period of 365 days and
  • At least one of the lets in that 365 day period is not a private tenancy

There are exclusions:

  • The hotel and B&B industry is not affected.
  • Short term stays in refuges, hospitals and stays in student halls of residence (whether by students or others) are also excluded from any new regulations.

There are different types of short term lets which have been identified in the consultation:

  • Sharing-where the guest shares the accommodation with the host
  • Swapping– where the whole of the property usually lived in by the host is let by the guest , often with the host spending their holiday in the guest’s home
  • Secondary letting– where the whole of the property occupied by the guest is not the home of the host and the host is absent

The regulatory framework which is suggested would include certain options for local authorities to choose from:

  • A basic registration scheme for which a fee would be paid to register and for example, health and safety checks could be carried out
  • A licensing scheme including and expanding on the basic registration scheme, perhaps with a fit and proper person test for which a fee would be charged
  • Market-based mechanisms to control short term lets, for example, a charge to limit the number of short term lets in a given area
  • Limiting the number of days on which a host can grant short term lets

If you would like your say on what should be done, the consultation runs until the 19 July 2019.

( – framework-scotland/)

If you have any questions please contact me Alison Gourley on 0141 552 3422 or by email

About Alison Gourley

Alison graduated from Edinburgh University School of Law in 1991. She joined Mitchells Roberton in 1996 and became an Associate thereafter. Alison specialises in both commercial and residential conveyancing, advising individuals, large and small businesses, banks, charities and further education institutions on all property transactions. Having 20 years experience in property law Alison has developed excellent relationships with surveyors, independent financial advisers and banks so is ready to act swiftly and effectively to meet her clients’ needs in an ever changing property market. She enjoys getting to know her clients and is committed to giving them an efficient service and is always friendly and approachable. She is also involved with the marketing aspects of the firm. Alison is a residential conveyancing tutor in the paralegal course offered by Central Law Training through the University of Strathclyde. Alison is married to a photographer and has one child. In her free moments she likes to keep fit. She is a talented amateur artist and loves nature and the great outdoors. Email:

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