UK STAA and ASSC submit joint letter over Scottish letting regulations

UK: The UK Short Term Accommodation Association [UK STAA] and Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers  [ASSC] have sent a joint letter to housing minister Kevin Stewart MSP in response to forthcoming regulations recently announced for the short-term lettings sector in Scotland.

There are five key point that both associations requested further clarity on:

  • A clear definition of what is, and what is not short-term letting activity – so that boundaries are clear for those operating in the short-term and long-term rental sectors, and we can properly understand the target of these regulations.
  • The proposed licensing regime – more details are needed on the criteria, the proposed duration of licences, the administrative processes that operators will need to follow, and the associated guidance that must ensure consistency and proportionality across Scotland.
  • The costs of the licensing and planning permission system – ensuring that these are truly proportionate to the costs of administration, and set at a level that does not unduly burden those who are renting very infrequently, or that layers further expense on established businesses who are already making a contribution to local authorities.
  • How control zones will be defined – what evidence will be needed to justify their introduction, and how they will be reviewed, and what policy responses to those zones are appropriate and proportionate.
  • The interplay between regulation and taxation – recognising the potential of the short-term rental sector as a source of tax revenue for the government, while also acknowledging that unduly restrictive regulation of the sector may discourage activity, leading to a reduction in tax revenues. Further analysis is needed to ensure that interventions like changes to business rates and new tourist levies and taxes do not result in unintended outcomes.

Both associations said that they believe that constructive dialogue between the industry, government and local communities can result in regulations that balance the needs of residents and support tourism, one of Scotland’s most important industries.

The joint letter can be read in full at the UK STAA website here.