Short Term Lets: Consultation on a licensing scheme and planning control areas in Scotland

Closed 16 Oct 2020

Opened 14 Sep 2020

Feedback updated 18 Jul 2022

We asked

On 14 September 2020 the Scottish Government published a consultation seeking views on the detailed proposals for the regulation of short-term lets which would form the basis for secondary legislation to be laid in Parliament in December 2020.

The consultation covered the definition of short-term lets, the establishment of control areas under the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 and the establishment of a licensing scheme under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

You said

There were 1,086 responses to the consultation, of which 893 were from individuals and 193 were from organisations.

Overall, there were a number of comments made by respondents which set out the reasoning for their opinions, specific examples or explanations and alternative suggestions to the definition, control areas and licensing scheme.  

In summary:

  1. A number of respondents raised the issue of the timing of these proposals and whether the Scottish Government had taken the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector into account.
  2. A number of consultees in workshops and in written responses questioned the exclusion of unconventional dwellings, principally on health and safety grounds when this is so central to the approach.
  3. Some respondents highlighted potential issues with the way that some of the discretionary conditions were framed or whether they were appropriate at all.
  4. Many respondents commented on the policy rather than the consultation questions.

We did

The Scottish Government published the 2020 consultation report on 10 December 2020.  

On 14 December 2020, the Licensing Order, Control Area Regulations and the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) were laid at the Scottish Parliament.

he Control Area Regulations were approved by the Scottish Parliament on 24 February 2021 and came into force on 1 April 2021.

On 18 February 2021, the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning wrote to the Local Government and Communities Committee confirming that legislation for a short-term lets licensing scheme had been withdrawn from the Scottish Parliament to allow for draft guidance to be developed. The Scottish Government established a stakeholder working group in February 2021 to assist with the production of guidance and identify any changes to legislation that were needed.

Results updated 10 Dec 2020


On 10 December 2020, we published a consultation report on our 2020 consultation on the definition of short-term lets and detailed proposals for the licensing scheme and control areas.

What happens next

In the week of 14 December, we will lay the Licensing Order, Control Area Regulations and the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) at the Scottish Parliament.  Once published, they will be made available here: Short-term lets: regulation information - (

Subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament, the Licensing Order and Control Area Regulations will come into force on 1 April 2021. 

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


This consultation seeks views on the Scottish Government's detailed proposals for the regulation of short-term lets which will form the basis for secondary legislation to be laid in Parliament in December.

Why your views matter

We are committed to ensuring that local authorities have appropriate regulatory powers to balance the needs and concerns of their communities with wider economic and tourism interests.

In April 2019, the Scottish Government launched a first consultation and commissioned independent research into the impact of short-term lets on people and communities.  The 2019 consultation paper set out our understanding of the benefits of, and issues around, short-term lets, the principles that would help to guide our approach, and some proposed approaches to regulation. 

In January 2020, we announced plans to establish a licensing scheme for short-term lets using powers under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and give local authorities the power to introduce short-term let control areas under powers in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019.  This second consultation sets out a definition of short-term lets and detailed proposals to create the licensing scheme and establish control areas.

The purpose of this consultation is to help the Scottish Government ensure that the legislation laid at the Scottish Parliament in December is as efficient and effective as possible. 

Stakeholder workshops

In line with COVID-19 restrictions and guidance, we are not organising face-to-face meetings to discuss the consultation proposals.

However, we are engaging through on-line workshops or stakeholder-organised events with representatives of:

  • Accrediting organisations
  • Airbnb hosts
  • Letting agencies
  • Local authority planning, environmental health, licensing and housing officers and COSLA
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Police Scotland
  • Platforms and channel managers
  • Resident groups from urban and rural settings
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Trade associations (STAA and ASSC)
  • Visit Scotland and destination management organisations

Our workshops are by invitation only.  This is so that each workshop can cover different interests and perspectives effectively.  Whilst we cannot invite everyone to a workshop, the consultation paper sets out all the information that will be covered in workshops and all are welcome to submit a consultation response.

Read the consultation paper.

What happens next

We aim to lay the secondary legislation giving local authorities powers to license short-term lets and introduce control areas in December so that it can be in force by spring 2021.


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