Short term lets licensing
Applying for a licence
Ensure you have read the following pages before applying 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 on or before 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) is expected to become a Short Term Let Control Area.
To operate within this area, you will need to have either planning permission, or confirm that it is not required.
If you have already applied for a licence when the control area becomes active, you will be given a reasonable amount of time to obtain the appropriate permission. For more information, visit our page on Short Term Let Control Areas.
Before you begin your application
Before you start your application read through the following pages:
- Further information and guidance
- Before you apply - documents you need
- Before you apply - mandatory licence conditions
- Before you apply - additional licence conditions
- Before you apply - declarations you must make
- Short Term Lets - Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact details
The fees for all short-term let applications can be found on our licence application fees page.
Variation of Short Term Let Licence
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We are unable to accept applications using alternative application forms.
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.
Before applying, ensure you have read our privacy notice for short term let licensing.