No change to short term lets timetable
POSTED ON July 10, 2023 BY James Garry
The Scottish Government does not intend to abandon its licensing scheme for short term lets
The Scottish Government does not intend to abandon its licensing scheme for short term lets, or to delay its implementation any further, despite the judicial review decision on the City of Edinburgh Council’s scheme, a minister has confirmed.
In an update provided to Holyrood’s Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee, Minster for Housing Paul McLennan noted that following publication of the decision on 8 June the Association of Scottish Self-Caterers had called for the scheme to be scrapped, or for a further extension of the transitional deadline for existing hosts.
He continued, however, by pointing out that the licensing scheme itself had not been challenged, but only its implementation by Edinburgh, and: “It remains our view that licensing of short-term lets can be operated effectively by councils so as to respect the rights of hosts and guests in short-term let accommodation, and is appropriate for the whole of Scotland.”
As respects Edinburgh, “it is important to highlight that the council still has an operational licensing scheme and we understand it plans to quickly update its information for applicants”, to provide clarity about the changes it has made to respond to the ruling, “particularly existing hosts that will be applying before 1 October 2023” – the current deadline for hosts to be allowed to continue operating while their application is being determined. “I am therefore minded not to extend the transitional deadline”, the minister stated.
He also confirmed that the Government “continues to be proactive in working with licensing authorities to harmonise consistent operational approaches where possible”.
In March this year the original application deadline for existing hosts was extended by six months to 30 September 2023. Mr McLennan said the rate of applications had slowed after the extension was granted but he expects it to increase rapidly as the deadline approaches.
Lord Braid in the Court of Session held the Edinburgh scheme unlawful and irrational in that it applied a presumption against granting a licence for premises with a shared entrance, yet it was stated that there was an expectation that well run premises would receive one; and also in that decisions regarding a particular type of property were planning and not licensing matters, and premises also had to receive planning consent for such use.