Tell us your views on short term let licensing scheme - Paul Lawrence

We’re asking residents, visitors and interested groups and organisations what they think a short term lets (STLs) licensing scheme should look like in the Capital.

By Paul Lawrence
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 7:00 am
Paul Lawrence - Edinburgh City Council's Director of Place.
Paul Lawrence - Edinburgh City Council's Director of Place.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Parliament approved legislation to introduce a new licensing scheme. We’re delighted the legislation we have long called for has been approved and we’re now at the stage of developing a scheme which is right for the people of Edinburgh.

Around a third of all STLs in Scotland are in the Capital and we know they cause issues in almost every ward in the City. Issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise are having a detrimental effect on many of our communities. Licences will give us greater control over the impact of these issues as well as the overall impact the increasing number of STLs is having on our housing supply and housing prices.

Changes will come into effect in October of this year but existing hosts and operators will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence. That’s ahead of all STLs being required to have a licence by 1 July 2024.

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As we work out the fine detail, we’re looking for your views and the Council’s online consultation will run until the 10 June 2022. It asks what additional measures you think should be introduced in the licensing scheme for Edinburgh over and above what is already laid out in the legislation approved by Parliament.

There are questions around what kind of properties are suitable for STLs and what additional measures should be introduced to tackle issues of noise, anti-social behaviour and damage to properties. It asks about temporary licences and in what circumstances they should be granted.

In addition to this, new legislation was passed by the Scottish Parliament last year to allow local authorities to apply for short term let control areas. Following extensive consultation, in February of this year, the Council’s Planning Committee approved a report recommending we ask the Scottish Government if the whole of Edinburgh can be designated as a short term let control area - which the Council has now done.

If approved by government this will mean that residential property owners wholly letting a property as an STL, which is not their principal home, will need to apply for planning permission for a ‘change of use’. One of the government’s mandatory measures to obtain a licence for your short term let is making sure the applicant has the right planning permission in place before a licence is granted.

This will complement all of the work the Council has been driving forward and help to stop homes being taken out of residential use - or being let out when they are unsuitable, unsafe or antisocial.

I’d encourage everyone to have their say on this important issue for the city.

Paul Lawrence, Executive Director Place at the City of Edinburgh Council