Short term lets

The Scottish Government introduced legislation which required local authorities to establish a licensing scheme for short term lets by 1 October 2022.

The legislation was brought in by the Scottish Government to ensure short term lets are safe, to address issues faced by neighbours, and to help local authorities understand what is happening in their area.

The legislation aims to balance economic and tourism benefits with the needs and concerns of local communities.

In addition to the introduction of the licensing scheme for short term lets, the legislation allows the local authority to establish short term let “control areas” to help manage high numbers of short term lets.

Since 1 October 2022, all new host/operators (i.e. those who were not operating their property as a short-term let property prior to 1 October 2022) must have a short-term let licence granted in order to operate i.e. accept bookings and receive guests. 

The deadline for existing host/operators (i.e. those who were operating their short-term let property prior to 1 October 2022) to submit their application for a short-term let licence is 1 October 2023  (this was amended earlier this year from 1 April 2023). Existing host/operators who do not submit their application by this date will lose their “existing host/operator” status and will be treated as a new host/operator when they apply for their licence. 

As such, after 1 October 2023, existing hosts/operators can only continue to operate if they have either:

  • Submitted an application for a licence on or before 1 October 2023 that has not yet been determined; or
  • Been granted a short-term let licence.

Apply for a licence

You do not currently need to evidence planning permission as part of your application, however, properties in Badenoch and Strathspey may have additional planning requirements if it becomes a designated Short Term Let Control Area.

Before you start your application, read through the following pages and the Planning section below.

Planning permission

This guidance relates to the planning implications. It is the operator's responsibility to ensure they have the appropriate planning permission in place.