During a meeting of The Highland Council Members noted the preparation underway for the commencement of new legislation – the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short Term Lets) Order 2022, which came into effect on 1 March 2022.
The licensing scheme was brought in by the Scottish Government with the aim to ensure short term lets are safe, address issues faced by neighbours, to facilitate local authorities in knowing and understanding what is happening in their area and handling complaints effectively.
It also enables local authorities to ensure the people providing short term lets are suitable.
The legislation aims to make sure that the economic and tourism benefits from short term lets are balanced with the needs and concerns of local communities.
As a result of the provisions of the legislation, local authorities must open a licensing scheme for short term lets by 1 October 2022.
A report set out the preparatory work that has been carried out by officers and the issues the Council will have to consider as a result of the legislation coming into force.
A short term let licensing scheme will cover a wide range of residential accommodation including, but not exclusively, self-catered properties, B&B’s, guest houses, glamping pods and yurts.
The licensing scheme includes new mandatory safety requirements that will cover every type of short term let.
These are set out in the legislation as mandatory conditions of a licence.
It will also include a ‘fit and proper’ test to assess whether an application is suitable to be the holder of a licence.
Every licence application will require consultation with Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
In addition, consultation will be carried out with the Council’s Environmental Health Service and Planning and Building Standards departments.
The Environmental Health Service will undertake any on-site compliance checks required for applications, taking a proportionate and risk-based approach.
The Council also has the discretion to apply further appropriate conditions to address any local concerns.
Licensing officers have been working to create a comprehensive online application process to ensure that the application process is as efficient as possible.
Paper applications will also be available.
A dedicated mailbox has been set up to answer queries from members of the public in relation to the licensing scheme – firstname.lastname@example.org
There has also been engagement with Highland Tourism Partnership keeping them up to date with the Council’s progress with the implementation of the scheme and answering any queries in relation to the licensing scheme.
Members agreed to go out to public consultation on the draft policy and the proposed additional conditions for short term lets, prior to bringing proposals back to the Highland Licensing Committee.