The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland has strongly welcomed proposals to toughen the regulation and control of short-term lettings north of the border.
The Scottish Government has set out plans for the regulation of short term lets including a nationwide licencing scheme and discretionary powers for local authorities to apply for control areas to be designated in specific locations if they think that further restrictions might be required.
Where a control area is designated, planning permission would be required for a residential property to be converted into a short term let.
The consultation includes details of licencing requirements that all short term lets would have to meet, including extending the Repairing Standard which currently applies to the private rented sector. The Repairing Standard covers the property condition and health and safety elements such as fire, gas and electrical safety and carbon monoxide detection.
Local authorities will also be able to add licencing conditions at their discretion and tailored to local conditions. For example, they may wish to include additional rules around noise or anti-social behaviour.
Ashley Campbell, policy and practice manager at CIH Scotland said:
“We welcome the introduction of regulations for short term lets in Scotland. While we recognise that this type of accommodation is popular with tourists, can provide flexible income for hosts and support local economies, we also need to acknowledge the negative impact that short term lets can have on some communities.
“Where large numbers of homes are being converted into holiday accommodation, local residents have less choice over where they can live and may see costs pushed up. Many people have also experienced noise nuisance from parties and may feel insecure with strangers coming in and out of shared stairways.
“The current lack of regulation or accountability means that guests and neighbours can be put at risk if homes are not being maintained or do not have adequate fire safety measures in place and this is unacceptable.
“We are pleased that short term let hosts will now have to meet the same safety standards as private landlords. These regulations are a step in the right direction but will only be effective if they are effectively communicated, understood and enforced.”
By Patrick Mooney, Editor