Short-Term Lets: Consultation

Closed 22 Jul 2019

Opened 28 Apr 2019

Feedback updated 18 Jul 2022

We asked

On 28 April 2019, the Scottish Government published a consultation seeking views on the regulation of short-term lets in Scotland.

The consultation followed a period of significant growth in short-term lets in a small timescale and the consultation set out the factual background, described the issues arising, outlined local authorities current powers to address them and presented an overview of regulatory approaches elsewhere in the world.

You said

There were 1,086 responses to the consultation, of which 111 were from organisations and 975 from individuals.

Overall, a majority of respondents supported regulation for short-term lets in some form. Views were mixed as to whether there should be registration or licensing for short-term lets, although there was a degree of support for both elements to be introduced, with some support for a mandatory rather than a voluntary scheme. There was little support for a market-based mechanism.

Regardless of whatever regulation was introduced, a common theme was of the need for enforcement to be undertaken; and to be undertaken quickly where there was non-compliance. There were also a number of comments that local authorities will need additional resources to apply and enforce any regulation.

While there was some agreement for a national framework, there were calls for flexibility within this so that local authorities can apply what is most relevant to their area, its economy and the impacts of short-term lets. For example, some respondents differentiated between cities - in particular Edinburgh - with a high density of short-term lets within the city centre and where there are a number of negative impacts of short-term lets; and rural areas where short-term lets are perceived to cause fewer negative impacts and to be more necessary to the local economy. There were a number of comments that a 'one size fits all' approach will not suit the short-term let sector. Additionally, there were some comments that the negative impacts of short-term lets are felt most in Edinburgh and that actions necessary to deal with this in Edinburgh will not be relevant in most other parts of Scotland.

We did

The Scottish Government published a report on the 2019 consultation and independent research on the impact of short-term lets on communities in October 2019.

Following careful consideration of the 2019 consultation responses and the evidence provided by independent research, in January 2020 the Scottish Government announced proposals:

  • to establish a licencing for short-term lets, using powers under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, with a mandatory safety component which will apply to all short-term lets across Scotland;
  • to prioritise work to give local authorities the power to introduce short-term let control areas under powers in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019; and
  • to undertake a review of the tax treatment of short-term lets, to ensure they make an appropriate contribution to the communities they operate in.

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.


The consultation asks for your views on the regulation of short-term lets in Scotland. There has clearly been a significant growth in short-term lets in a small timescale and the consultation sets out the factual background, describes the issues arising, outlines local authorities current powers to address them and presents an overview of regulatory approaches elsewhere in the world. Your views will help the Scottish Government find the right approach for Scotland.


Why your views matter

Short-term lets have become the subject of much controversy in some parts of Scotland and evoke strong opinions. Our 2018 Programme for Government made a commitment to ensure that local authorities have appropriate regulatory powers to balance the needs and concerns of their communities with wider economic and tourism interests. The consultation asks for your views on what those powers should be.

The Scottish Government welcomes the economic benefits which the development of new models of short-term letting brings to Scotland however we also recognise the problems caused by short-term lets, which are summarised in the consultation. A regulatory approach might involve registration and/or licensing of short-term lets and enable different areas to tailor the approach to their local needs and priorities, with the possible addition of a market-based mechanism to control numbers. Consultation is an essential part of the policy making process and your views on these issues will help the Scottish Government shape the regulatory approach to short-term lets.

Read the consultation paper.

Sign up for Stakeholder Engagement Events. 


The consultation on a regulatory framework for short-term lets in Scotland closed on 23 July. No further responses can now be accepted. 


  • Business, Industry and Innovation
  • Communities and Third Sector
  • Economy
  • Housing and Regeneration