Short term lets licensing

Applying for a licence

Ensure you have read the following pages before applying for a licence.

Apply for a licence

Our licensing scheme for short term let properties has been in operation since October 2022, in line with the requirements laid down in legislation introduced by the Scottish Parliament.

Since 1 October 2022, new operators of short-term let accommodation must have a licence before taking any bookings or receiving guests.

All host and operators who did not apply before 1 October 2023 will require a short term let licence before they can accept guests and bookings.

Prior to 1 October 2023, the legislation made a distinction between existing and new hosts and operators:

  • existing hosts and operators are those who operated the application property as a short term let prior to 1 October 2022
  • new hosts and operators are those who did not operate the application property as a short term let prior to 1 October 2022

From 1 October 2023 there is no longer a distinction, and those who previously would have come within the definition of an existing host or operator can only continue to operate if:

  • they submitted an application for a licence prior to 1 October 2023 that has not yet been determined
  • has been granted a short-term let licence

It is a criminal offence to operate a short-term let without a licence, and you could be fined up to £2,500.

The legislation applies to short-term let accommodation, with exceptions that are set out in the legislation, and further guidance on this can be found on the Scottish Government’s guidance, found on the Scottish Government's short term lets licensing scheme page. Short-term let accommodation requiring a licence includes rooms let in your own home, holiday cottages, guest houses, B&Bs and unconventional accommodation such as pods and yurts.

Short Term Let Control Areas

Badenoch and Strathspey (Ward 20) was designated as a Short Term Let Control Area on 4 March 2024.

It is a mandatory licensing condition that dwellinghouses operated as a secondary let need to have either:

  • planning permission in place to operate the property as a short term let
  • applied for planning permission to operate the property as a short term let
  • evidence that planning permission it is not required

Read our guidance on short term control areas.

Before you begin your application

Before you start your application read through the following pages:


The fees for all short-term let applications can be found on our licence application fees page.

Licence application fees are non-refundable.

Variation of Short Term Let Licence

An application form to apply to vary a Short Term Let Licence can be downloaded here - STL variation application form (word) | STL variation application form (PDF) . The application fee is £120.

Application Form

All applications for a short-term let licence must be submitted directly to The Highland Council. You can use our online short-term lets application form. If you are unable to submit an application online and require a paper application form, please email us directly at We are unable to accept applications using alternative application forms.

Policy Statement

A copy of our Policy Statement and guidance notes in relation to short-term let licensing can be found by downloading the Short term lets - Policy Statement.

Privacy notice

Before applying, ensure you have read our privacy notice for short term let licensing.