Frequently Asked Questions

We have produced a list of frequently asked questions about the licensing scheme.

General FAQs

  1. Why is the Comhairle introducing this scheme?
  2. What is the deadline for applying for a licence?
  3. How long will a licence last?
  4. How do I know if I will need a licence?
  5. Are there any types of properties which are excluded from the requirement to obtain a licence?
  6. I have a Guesthouse that has Class 7 planning permission use. Do I have to apply?
  7. I have two short-term let properties beside each other- can I just apply for one licence?
  8. But I only rent out one bedroom in my house on Air BnB during the summer months. Do I need a licence for that?
  9. What about caravans and pods?
  10. I have more than one property. Do I need a separate licence for each one?
  11. I need to display a Notice for 21 days, but it says that the objection period is 28 days – is this correct?

Application FAQs

  1. Why do I have to provide place of birth?
  2. My partner/spouse and I jointly own the short term let- do we both need to apply?
  3. Do I need to list gardeners and cleaners under employees?
  4. Is a wood burning stove, not used for main heating considered as solid fuel burner?
  5. What appliances need to be PAT tested?
  6. How often do items need to be PAT tested?
  7. I have just bought new equipment does that need to be tested and stickered?
  8. Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
  9. Do I need a short-term let licence if I have a liquor licence?
  10. If I provide food as part of my welcome pack do I have to register as a food business?
  11. What type of let do I select if I do not live in my B&B or Guesthouse?
  12. If I use a company to advertise my premises, deal with payments and manage by bookings for let ( i.e. online), do I have to put them down as an agent?

General FAQs

Why is the Comhairle introducing this scheme?

Because it is a legal requirement. The Comhairle has no discretion to delay or fail to implement a licensing scheme for short-term lets.  The rationale for the legislation is to ensure that all premises used for short-term lets are safe, and that the people operating them are suitable.

What is the deadline for applying for a licence?

A If you already operate a short-term let, then you must apply for a licence before 1 April 2023. You can continue to operate while your application is being processed. If you do not already operate a short-term let when the scheme becomes operational on 1 October 2022, then you cannot start operating until you have a licence.

How long will a licence last?

The Comhairle is proposing that licences will last up to three years.

How do I know if I will need a licence?

You are likely to need a licence if you provide residential accommodation as a host to a guest in exchange for payment, and the guest does not use the accommodation as their only or principal home.
If you are unsure, you should first check the definition of short-term let in Section 3 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2022. You may also find it useful to read the Scottish Government’s Guidance for Hosts and Operators. If you remain unsure, please contact us at stl@cne-siar.gov.uk.

Are there any types of properties which are excluded from the requirement to obtain a licence?

Yes. These are set out in Schedule 1 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2022 and include hostels, bothies, student accommodation and hotels which have planning permission granted for use as a hotel.

I have a Guesthouse that has Class 7 planning permission use. Do I have to apply?

Yes, unless you have a liquor licence. The exemption only applies to hotels (usually where the planning permission is for a hotel) Please see Question 9 under Applications for further information

I have two short-term let properties beside each other- can I just apply for one licence?

Each premises requires its own licence, where premises means the property and land on one site; normally premises have their own postal address. If each property has its own postal address then you would need two licences.

But I only rent out one bedroom in my house on Air BnB during the summer months. Do I need a licence for that?

Yes. The legislation covers home-sharing (letting out rooms which are part of your own home) as well as secondary letting (letting out separate dwellings, such as a holiday cottage) and home-letting (letting out your entire home).  There are no provisions in the legislation which exempt short-term letting carried out for only part of the year, or a specified number of days per year.

What about caravans and pods?

Caravans used for short-term lets should have a Caravan Site licence. See our flow diagram (124.9kB) for more details. If your pod is not classed as a caravan or does not have a caravan licence then you will need a short-term let licence. Please see holiday caravan site licence section for more information 

I have more than one property. Do I need a separate licence for each one?

The legislation states that a licence is required for each “premises”. If you own more than one holiday cottage, or a holiday cottage and a B and B, then you will need separate licences for each premises. However, if you have multiple accommodation on the same premises, for example 3 yurts in a field, then you will need only one licence.

I need to display a Notice for 21 days but it says that the objection period is 28 days – is this correct?

Yes, the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 only requires the Notice to be displayed for 21 days, but the legislative period for objections / representations to the application is 28 days (as stated on the Notice)

Application FAQs

Why do I have to provide place of birth?

We require this information to assess whether an applicant is a fit and proper person when consulting Police Scotland as part of the application process.

My partner/spouse and I jointly own the short term let- do we both need to apply?

If one of you applies, then the other only needs to give their consent to the application as detailed in the form. If you partner/spouse is also involved in the day to day management then they should be listed under 2b as a “day to day manager” of the premises.

Do I need to list gardeners and cleaners under employees?

No, you only have to list day to day mangers of the premises

Is a wood burning stove, not used for main heating considered as solid fuel burner?

A Yes, any appliance that burns wood, coal, smokeless fuel, heating oil, and bio-ethanol would be considered as a solid or liquid fuel appliance.

What appliances need to be PAT tested?

The mandatory licence condition says that you need a PAT report on all moveable appliances. This means any item with a plug that can be removed from a socket, including washing machines, fridge freezers and dishwashers.

How often do items need to be PAT tested?

The competent person doing the PAT testing will normally recommend when items are re-tested but we will only be asking for records showing that items have been done at least every 5 years. As well as compliance with the licence condition hosts have their general obligations under health and safety legislation and should also be doing visual checks on electrical items and fixings regularly.

I have just bought new equipment does that need to be tested and stickered?

New equipment should be supplied in a safe condition and not require a formal portable appliance inspection or test. However, a simple visual check is recommended to verify the item is not damaged. We would expect to see them listed on, or ancillary to any PAT report, with a date of purchase. If they are not due for inspection and have not been inspected then they do not need to be date labelled & stickered.

Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

A Depending on the type of short-term let you may require an EPC and if you do you must display the rating in any adverts. EPCs last for 10 years. Generally, self catering properties will require an EPC and B&Bs/guest houses will not. Further information is available at Energy Performance Certificates for Holiday Lets: guidance - (www.gov.scot).  You can check if your property has a certificate at the Scottish Energy Performance Certificate Register and find local agents that can provide an EPC for you.

Do I need a short-term let licence if I have a liquor licence?

No, where premises in respect of which a premises licence within the meaning of Section 17 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) has effect and where the provision of accommodation is an activity listed in the operating plan as defined in Section 20(4) of the 2005 Act (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

If I provide food as part of my welcome pack do I have to register as a food business?

If you regularly supply food as any part of your business then you need to register as a food business. This service is free of charge. If you complete the food section of the application form then we will consider that as your registration if you are not already registered. If you are only providing prepacked ambient foods then we will just note your registration, but we may be in touch if you are doing any home baking etc or meals.

What type of let do I select if I do not live in my B&B or Guesthouse?

You would select Secondary Letting as it means a short-term let consisting of the entering into of an agreement for the use of accommodation, which is not, or is not part of, the licence holder’s only or principal home.

If I use a company to advertise my premises, deal with payments and manage by bookings for let ( i.e. online), do I have to put them down as an agent?

No, unless they do all day to day management of the business, including organising the cleaning and maintenance and any “hands on” with guests. We do not expect you to register the main short-term let online platforms on the form.