Trade body says ‘further amendments need to be made’
STAA seeks additional changes to rentals licensing in Scotland
The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) has called for three further amendments to be made to the Scottish government’s new licensing order for short-term rentals.
In a letter sent to MSP Shona Robison, the cabinet secretary for social justice, housing, and local government, the STAA outlined its proposals.
The Scottish government made several changes to the planned licensing order at the beginning of October including ditching regulations designed to combat the “overprovision” of what the government called ‘Airbnb-style properties’.
But the STAA called for existing operators – those who have engaged in short-term rental activity during the previous tax year – to automatically be given a license if they meet mandatory safety standards and pay the required fee.
The STAA also suggested moving towards a system “which makes a distinction between commercial and amateur activity”, to avoid penalising “thousands” of second home owners who live a portion of the year in properties that they also wish to let out on the long-term rental market.
“Properties which qualify for non-domestic rates would be subject to planning controls in short-term let control zones and those paying council tax would not, irrespective of whether they are a main residence or a second home,” the STAA explained.
Finally, the STAA wants the government to consider “the merits of each proposal for a control zone” for short-term letting rather than placing an entire city – like Edinburgh – within a zone.
Under the new licensing order, councils have until October 2022 to set up a licensing scheme.
As part of a crack down on short-term lets, councillors in Edinburgh have proposed to make the city a controlled zone despite data showing that short-term lets made up “a very small proportion of the total housing stock in outer wards”, according to the STAA.
It added that there had been “almost no anti-social behaviour complaints about short-term rentals in some wards” in Edinburgh in the last five years.
STAA director general Shomik Panda said: “We are happy with the sensible and practical amendments made to the original licensing order and are keen to work constructively with the Scottish government on this issue.
“Further amendments need to be made to make the new system work for existing businesses.
“We believe that the three amendments we have identified will help make the new system work as well as possible for existing short-term letting hosts and property managers.”