Short-Term Let Licences – Know your obligations

Short-Term Let Licences – Know your obligations

The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licencing of Short-Term Lets) Order 2022 came into force on 1 March 2022. It implemented a licencing scheme for all Short-Term Lets in Scotland. The licensing scheme provides mandatory requirements that all Short Term Lets must comply with.

Those letting out their home, part of their home, a secondary property, or an unconventional dwelling such as a cabin or pod to paying guests now need to apply for a licence.

The scheme came into operation in October 2022 and since then all new Short Term Lets require a licence before they can start to operate. The scheme is currently in its transitional period and existing operators (those who were operational prior to October 2022) have been able to continue to operate normally.

From 1st October 2023, all Short-Term Let operators must have their licence application submitted and it will be a criminal offence for any short-term let operator to accept bookings and guests without a valid licence or application waiting for determination.

The schemes purposes are to ensure that all Short Term Lets are safe, to allow local authorities to better understand what is happening in their area and to deal with complaints and issues faced by neighbours of short term lets more effectively.

The scheme imposes mandatory conditions on operators that centre around safety. Local authorities have also been able to add additional conditions more specific to their area. The Highland Council have added several conditions, with perhaps the most noteworthy being the requirements to manage any nuisance or anti-social behaviour, including ensuring that guest’s cars are parked lawfully and the requirement to protect the privacy and security of neighbours. Operators are also required to report damage to the property, incidents of fire, gas leaks or explosions and material changes of circumstance affecting the property or licence holder. One interesting condition to be borne in mind is the prohibition on damaging shared property – this includes affixing lock boxes for guest entry to shared parts of buildings such as shared entrances.

The application comprises an online form, found on the Highland Council website, and a requirement to provide supporting evidence. The form requires the operator to provide their details, details of anyone else managing the property and details of the property itself. The operator then needs to answer several questions that look primarily at the fire safety measures within the property.

Though the application itself is relatively short, the supporting evidence required is substantial. Some of the documents required include a floor plan, a ground plan, electrical safety reports, a completed fire safety checklist and a legionella risk assessment. If you are an existing operator you also need to provide booking and payment details from guests to evidence that you were operating prior to October 2022.

It is essential that all operators submit their application by 1st October 2023. Any existing operator who fails to apply before 1st October 2023 but continues to operate could face a fine of up to £2,500 and be banned from applying for a licence for a year.

How can we help?


At Macleod and MacCallum, we have dealt with many applications on behalf of clients.  We are able to offer advice and assistance throughout the process and to arrange for completion of an application on your behalf.

Contact us for more information on our service and for a breakdown of costs.

Tel: 01463 239393


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