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AirBnB-style short-term let operators will have to get a license from April of next year after the Scottish Parliament approved new legislation in a bid to tackle noise, antisocial behaviour and the impact on the supply of housing in some areas

By Scott Maclennan

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Highland MSP Emma Roddick.
Highland MSP Emma Roddick.

All short-term let properties will require a licence to ensure they are safe and the people providing them are suitable under new legislation approved by the Scottish Parliament.

Local authorities will be required to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October 1 this year and existing hosts and operators will have until April 1, 2023 to apply for a licence.

The legislation was developed to deal with the impact of short-term let properties on their local communities, including noise, antisocial behaviour and the impact on the supply of housing in some areas.

Regional MSP Emma Roddick welcomed the new law as a “first step” in addressing the housing crisis in tourist hotspots as she called on Highland Council to go further to shore up local housing stock.

She said further action is needed at a local level to protect housing stock and she would like to see councillors set-up control areas to limit the number of residential properties which can be converted to holiday lets.

Badenoch and Strathspey became the first ward to seek the introduction of a control area last year, meaning that future property owners will need to acquire change of use planning permission to use their property as a short-term let.

Ms Roddick said: “More needs to be done if we are to change the tide on housing so that it is no longer viewed solely as a commodity or capital gain.

“Some areas of the Highlands have seen up to 50 per cent of their housing stock used for short-term letting.

“If councillors are serious about helping their constituents and ensuring their communities remain viable, they need to take action now.

“Councillors representing any Highland ward facing housing pressures exacerbated by high numbers of short-term lets should make use of this power and implement a control area as soon as possible.”

Ms Roddick previously criticised Highland councillors who are also landlords of short-term lets for failing to declare an interest when voting against regulation.

Housing secretary Shona Robison said: “Our licensing scheme will allow local authorities and communities to take action to manage issues more effectively, without unduly curtailing the many benefits of short-term lets to hosts, visitors and the economy.

“We have already introduced legislation allowing councils to establish short-term let control areas and manage numbers of short-term lets.”

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