Scottish government moves forward with plans to allow Airbnb-style rents
THE Scottish Government is moving forward with plans to introduce municipal licensing for short-term rentals and Airbnb-style rentals.
Ministers want to tackle the growth of Airbnb-style rentals in popular tourist areas such as Edinburgh and will ask individual councils to set licensing terms while allowing uncapped fees to cover costs .
The scheme aims to ensure a minimum safety standard for rental properties and hopes to strike a better balance between community needs and concerns and economic and tourism benefits.
Hosts and operators have also been told that the regulations could introduce “possible tax changes” to guidance issued before any legislation came into effect.
MSPs will need to debate and approve the proposed legislation, and the UK government has said it will issue new guidance and information in early 2022.
Local authorities will each have to devise a licensing system for short-term rental properties by October next year, with all operators then having to apply for a license by July 1, 2024.
Existing Airbnb hosts and owners of short-term rentals will need to obtain a license by April 2023 under proposed legislation presented to holyrood.
Scottish Government ministers want to tackle the growth of Airbnb-style rentals in popular tourist areas such as Edinburgh and will ask individual councils to set licensing terms while allowing uncapped fees for cover the costs.
Housing Secretary Shona Robison said the proposed measures were the ‘next big step’ after legislation was introduced allowing councils to impose control zones at short notice – although those powers have not never been used.
Announcing that the short-term rental licensing proposal had been tabled in Parliament, Robison said: ‘We have already introduced legislation allowing councils to establish short-term rental control areas and manage the number of short-term rentals.
“This is the next important step towards putting in place a licensing system that will ensure that short-term rentals are safe and that the people providing them are suitable. We want short-term rentals to continue to have a positive impact on the tourism industry and local economies in Scotland while meeting the needs of local communities.
“Short-term rentals can give people a flexible travel option. However, we know that in some areas, especially tourist hotspots, a high number of rentals can cause problems for neighbors and make it harder for people to find somewhere to live.
“Licensing and control area legislation give councils the power to act where they need to.”
The Scottish Government had previously hoped to introduce the new law before the May election in Holyrood, but pushed back on plans following backlash from some MSPs.
Three consultations have taken place over three years as well as a stakeholder working group, although a number of organisations, including Airbnb, the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, the Scottish B&B Association and the UK Short Term Accommodation Association have all resigned from the group.
Robison added: “We appreciate the input from tourism bodies, local government, community organizations and others in reaching this point, and we look forward to delivering a short-term rental licensing program that works for Scotland. .”