Earls apartment, Thirlestane Castle

What is the short-term let legislation?

The Scottish Government has introduced a licensing regime for short-term lets in Scotland. Under the scheme, local authorities will be required to establish a short-term let licensing scheme by 1 October 2022.

If you are an existing host or operator (operating before 1 October 2022) you will have to apply for a licence before 1 April 2023. You can continue to receive guests and accept bookings while your application is being determined.

After 1 October 2022, new operators of short-term let accommodation must have a licence before taking any bookings. This also applies to existing operators who establish new short-term let accommodation after 1 October 2022.

By 1 July 2024, it will be illegal to operate a short-term let without a licence in all circumstances. Before 1 July 2024, it will be illegal in some circumstances, including:

  • Where a new host or operator starts operating while their application is being determined. Or where they continue to operate where a licence application has been refused;
  • Where an existing host or operator continues to operate where a licence application has been refused.


Local authorities may also choose to designate short-term let Planning Control Areas (PCA). From the date of designation, in addition to a licence, providers of secondary letting of an entire residential home or flat within a PCA will need one of two things:

  1. Change of use planning permission (planning permission must either be in force, or an application has been made and not yet determined)
  2. Certificate of lawfulness


Where the change of use of an entire residential home or flat to a short-term let took place before the designation of the control area planning permission may be required, where the change is material. You may wish to contact your local planning authority for advice, if you are unsure whether you need planning permission.

D&G Council Short-Term Let Licence Webinar

The SSDA in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council invite you to a webinar – ‘How to apply for your Short-Term Let Licence’

Please join us for this informative session which covers everything you will need to know about how to make a short-term let licence application;

  • what documentation you will need to provide
  • details of the mandatory conditions & making sure you are compliant
  • access to the guidance for hosts and operators
  • the cost of a licence
  • how to apply.


Scottish Borders Council - Draft Licensing Policy Consultation

The Scottish Borders draft licensing policy for the scheme is now out for public consultation for a period from the 5th to 30th October 2022, and your views are welcomed. Thereafter, they will consider the submissions relating to the draft policy, with a view to having the Policy approved before the year end. 

We would urge all businesses in the Scottish Borders to please take part:  


An application form to apply for the licence is currently being finalised and will be available imminently. 

We are keen to support the Scottish Borders Council and keep you updated on the application process - more information to follow soon. Please see the button below for more information


Key Dates 

Local authorities (LAs) now have until 1 October 2022 to develop licensing policies and open schemes in their areas.

  • From 1 October 2022 all new operators of short-term lets must apply for a licence. They must not accept bookings or receive guests until their licence has been granted). This also applies to existing operators, establishing new short-term lets after 1 October 2022
  • By 1 April 2023 all existing operators of short-term lets must have applied for a licence (for each of their premises). Existing operators are allowed to stay open until their licence application has been determined
  • From 1 July 2024 all short-term lets operators must have a licence



More advice, information and support for self catering businesses. 

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