Perth and Kinross council moves closer to checks on Airbnb-style rentals

PERTH and Kinross Council have taken a step closer to introducing a licensing system for short term rentals.

The aim of this scheme is to enable Scottish councils such as Perth and Kinross (PKC) to ‘balance community needs and concerns with wider tourism and economic interests’.

The scheme will be introduced on October 1 under legislation approved by the Scottish Parliament in January 2022.

New legislation requires Scottish local authorities to establish a system of short-term rental licenses by October 1, 2022.

While short-term rentals can boost the local economy, the legislation has been introduced due to issues such as noise, litter and housing shortages.

READ MORE: Edinburgh introduces tough rules on Airbnb-style short-term rentals

A draft of PKC’s proposed short-term licensing program and fee schedule was submitted to the board’s licensing committee on August 3. Councilors were asked to agree to a public consultation on the proposed policy.

The committee was told by Licensing Manager Debra Gilkison that PKC would need to hire more staff to process the expected volume of applications.

Fees are set for the licenses to cover the costs incurred by the council in providing these services. They vary from one municipality to another. Some councils will be able to manage licensing within their current membership. PKC is currently advertising for additional members of staff.

Gilkison told the committee that the council expected to receive up to 2,500 permit applications.

“We need to hire staff to cope with the volume of applications we expect to receive,” she said.

Fees vary depending on the size and type of rental – up to £1,600 for a three-year secondary rental license for accommodation of more than 11 people.

Strathallan Conservative adviser Keith Allan has expressed skepticism about monitoring temporary short-term rentals.

He said: “In our area we have a number of championship golf courses on several of our courses. And there’s a lot of canvassing going on for locals to rent their homes for Championship week.

“Do we expect people to apply for a license to rent their house for a week?”

Licensing manager Debra Gilkison said: “We expect people to ask for a temporary exemption for things like the Ryder Cup and all the big music festivals.

“It would be a temporary exemption that they would have to apply for from October 1.”

Allan said: “Like I say, people are going house hunting. And there are also events where people trade houses for events. I just think it’s very, very hard for you to police.

Kinross-shire Liberal Democrat Councilor Willie Robertson sought assurances that the consultation would not be a ‘check mark exercise’ and would be ‘meaningful’ with feedback received during the consultation ‘taken seriously and policy could be modified in the light of the comments received”.

Gilkison said: “I can assure you that this consultation and all of the consultations we conduct are taken seriously. We seek feedback from the public, businesses, hosts and operators. All comments will be put in the report which is returned to the members so that they can take note of the comments and if they wish to update the policy taking into account any comments made which will be made during the next committee.

The recommendations put forward by council officers were unanimously approved by councilors on the licensing committee.

PKC’s Head of Legal and Governance Services will now conduct a public consultation on PKC’s draft Short Term Rental Policy Statement and Fee Schedule.

A report containing the final draft policy and fee schedule will be presented to the Licensing Committee before the program comes into effect on October 1, 2022.

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