How short-term let licensing works

Guidance on the different types of licence and how you can get further information.

What is a short-term let licence?

Short-term let licensing was introduced across Scotland in October 2022. It means that anyone who wants to offer accommodation as a short-term let must get a licence from their council, unless that accommodation is excluded by law.

Types of short-term let licence

There are 4 types of short-term let licence.

Home sharing licence

You need this type of licence if you let out all or part of your own home while living there.

Home letting licence

You need this type of licence if you let out all or part of your own home while you're not there. For example, you need this licence if you let out your home while you're on holiday.

Secondary letting licence

You need this type of licence if you let out a property you do not normally live in. For example, you need this licence if you let out a second home or holiday let.

Home letting and home sharing licence

You need this type of licence if you let out all or part of your own home both:

  • while you're living there
  • at times when you're not there

Types of accommodation that need a licence

Unless it's excluded, any type of accommodation used for short-term lets needs a licence.

This includes residential and commercial accommodation, such as:

  • B&Bs and guesthouses
  • chalets
  • cottages
  • lodges
  • self-catering or holiday lets
  • shepherds' huts
  • tents, tipis or wigwams
  • treehouses
  • yurts

Excluded accommodation

Under short-term let licensing laws, certain types of accommodation are 'excluded' and do not need a licence. These include:

  • aparthotels
  • bothies
  • holiday caravans within parks covered by a caravan site licence
  • hotels, B&Bs or guesthouses with premises licensed under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005
  • self-catering accommodation in the grounds of premises licensed under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, as long as the accommodation is mentioned in the operating plan

You can find detailed information on excluded accommodation in section 5 of our short-term let licensing scheme policy statement.

How to check if you need a licence

If you'll be letting out your property for a short period, you must check whether you need a licence.

The quickest way to do this is to use mygov.scot’s short-term lets checker tool. If you do need a licence, this tool will also tell you which type you should apply for.

Important dates if you're applying for a licence

When you need to get a licence will depend on whether you're:

  • an existing host, which means you provided short-term lets before 1 October 2022
  • a new host, which means you did not provide short-term lets before 1 October 2022

If you're an existing host

You must apply for a licence before 1 April 2023.

You can keep letting your accommodation while you wait for a decision about your application.

!

The Scottish Government has announced a proposed change to the application deadline for existing hosts. If this proposal is approved by the Scottish Parliament, the new deadline will be 30 September 2023.

If you're a new host

If you were not a host before 1 October 2022, you cannot let your accommodation until you get a licence.

Final deadline for all hosts

All types of host must get a short-term let licence by 1 July 2024.

How to get a licence

If you want to get a licence for your accommodation, visit our short-term let licence application page.

Find out more about our licensing scheme

You can find detailed information on our short-term let licensing scheme in our policy statement.

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