Concerns raised by Perthshire tourism businesses over short-term rental legislation

Tourism businesses in Perth and Kinross have raised growing concerns over short-term rental legislation as they attempt to recover from the pandemic.

The proposed short-term rental license scheme was first revealed a few years ago, but the proposals were withdrawn ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections.

However, it is back on the table and could affect independent accommodation providers, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, glamping sites and other places in the short term if introduced.

Ministers had devised plans to give councils new powers to solve problems caused by the rapid growth of Airbnb-style vacation rentals.

The proposals came in response to concerns that the growth in short-term rentals was pushing up rent levels for other properties.

Concerns have also been raised about increased litter, noise and anti-social behavior.

If adopted, local authorities will have until April 1, 2022 to set up a program tailored to their needs and existing hosts will have until April 1, 2023 to apply.

Sheona Glenville-Sutherland (55) runs Tighnavon Glamping Pods in Kinloch Rannoch with her partner Ian Philp (58).

She echoed fears in the industrial sector that independent rural businesses like hers would be “bundled” with Airbnb rentals and urban properties in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“It seems like an odd timing for it to come up given the year we’ve had,” she said.

“The fact that companies like us can fall into the same category as Airbnbs and places in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but we are only eight glamping pods.

“How does it compare?

“There would be financial implications as a result. I don’t think anyone wants to increase their prices to cover the costs.

“We pride ourselves on the value for money and that wouldn’t be fair. “

She added: “Another concern is that this is a six month application process and that would mean we cannot guarantee reservations for anyone.

“We would be unavailable to take reservations with certainty pending our application.

“Some visitors book months in advance, others for the same week. This will create a lot of uncertainty.

“How do you plan and invest in your business if you are not sure whether you can book or not?”

“Some form of regulation is fine, but now with COVID people have to shut down. The timing does not seem good. “

Highland Ward Councilor John Duff and Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser both call on the Scottish government to ‘stop and listen’ to local business owners who have reached out to them to complain plan.

Cllr Duff said: ‘Independent businesses bring in over £ 720million to the Scottish economy and the introduction of this scheme could result in the closure of many independent businesses with a further ripple effect on local economies.

“The SNP expects local authorities to carry out these regular inspections of all independent properties and administer the licensing regime.

“I understand that the Scottish Government will not be providing any additional funding to the councils and therefore all costs will fall on the independents.”

Fraser added: “The SNP brought back these misguided proposals after sneaking them out after leaving Parliament for the summer recess.

“They have to stop and listen to these business owners.”

In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘Regulation of short-term rentals is needed to balance the needs and concerns of residents and communities with broader economic and tourism interests.

“The suggestion that we have been anything but direct about these proposals is wrong and totally at odds with the facts.

“This is the third public consultation on the regulation of short-term rentals.

“It has been a transparent process and we have made it clear since January 2020 that the regulation of short term rentals will include a licensing regime.

“Many hosts and operators will already comply with these requirements as good practice or in compliance with existing laws. “

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney has urged as many companies as possible to give their views on a consultation on the issue, which will end on Friday 13 August.

He said: “The Scottish Government has taken a cautious approach to this proposed law and has ensured that the views of all stakeholders are heard.

“That’s why we held two previous consultations on this topic, which resulted in over 2,000 submissions. It should be noted that the estimated cost of this licensing program will be the equivalent of just £ 11 per month, and that many companies currently meeting basic safety standards are expected to already meet most, if not all, of the requirements. eligibility criteria. “

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