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The new short-term let licensing in Scotland can be quite tricky to get your head around! With lots of different options, it’s easy to get confused! We’ve created this handy guide to help you decide which licence is best for your property.

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What’s changed?

In October 2022, the short-term rental law changed.

Those using accommodation to offer short-term lets in Scotland will have to apply for a licence from their local council as of this date.

Below are a few key dates to remember:

  • From October 1, 2022, all licensing authorities must have a system for receiving licensing applications. New hosts or operators must obtain a licence before providing short-term rentals from this date if they have never done so before.
  • 1 April 2023: Existing hosts and operators (in operation prior to 1st October 2022) must obtain a licence by this date. A licence is required if you own more than one property. however, if you own multiple units on the same property (e.g. with the same address), you need only one.
  • All existing short-term lets in Scotland must be licensed by 1 July 2024

Those who have received a booking before 1 October 2022 have until 1 April 2023 to apply and may continue to let until their licence is denied. However, those who have not taken a booking will need a licence from 1 October 2022 and will not be able to let without it. These forms can be found on your local council’s website.

Girls playing in autumn leaves

What type of accommodation needs a licence?

Short-term rentals include the following types of accommodation:

  • Guesthouses and bed and breakfasts
  • Boat (not moving)
  • Houseboats
  • Castles
  • Chalets
  • Cottages
  • Farmhouse and outbuildings
  • Holiday caravan (static)
  • Lighthouse
  • Lodge/ wooden cabins
  • Holiday lets, (including time-shares) 
  • Shared home or rooms within a home
  • Shepherd huts, Tents, tipi or wigwam/yurts
  • Treehouse/ similar (raised cabins etc)

Getting a license requires passing a test. Different matters will be considered by your council:

  • Relevant offences
  • Problems related to noise
  • Adverse reports including licensing standards officers or the police
  • Complaints or objections from others

In order to obtain a short-term rental license, what information is required?

A local authority will ask for the following when granting a licence for your property:

  • The type of license you are applying for
  • Ownership of the property
  • Documentation about your health and safety measures, certifications, plans, insurance, and other paperwork

What are the different types of licences?

open doors into luscious green garden

There are 4 types of licence:

  • ‘home sharing’ means you rent out all or part of your own home while you’re living there
  • ‘home letting’ means letting all or part of your own home while you’re not there, for example, while you’re on holiday
  • ‘secondary letting’ means letting a property where you do not normally live, for example, a second home or holiday let that isn’t your per
  • ‘home letting and home sharing’ means you let out all or part of your own home both while you are living there and also at times when you’re not there
    (Information provided from My Gov.Scott)

Most of you will want to apply for a secondary letting licence.

What else do I need to check for?

Me sure you can answer yes to the following statements:

  • According to the address of my rental property, I know what Scottish Local Authority I belong to.
  • I checked to see if my Scottish Local Authority has an overprovision policy on their website that might affect my application – e.g., a restriction on short-term holiday lets.
  • I checked whether my Scottish Local Authority accepts applications for temporary exemptions to holiday letting licenses. Therefore, I have considered whether I should apply.
  • You can check here to see if you require a licence:! The short questionnaire will also tell you which type of licence you need to apply for.

What happens if there are multiple owners or I don’t fully own the property?


If you own the vacation rental property alone, these questions do not apply to you.

  • I don’t own the property or the land it sits on, but the owner(s) of the property has given me permission to use it as a holiday rental. (Please let us know where you don’t own the property.)
  • My property is jointly owned with others, and they have given me their consent to apply for a license. (Please let us know if your name doesn’t match the name on the Owner Statements you receive from us.)

Other FAQ’S:


How long does the licence last?

They normally last up to 3 years. Once you’ve renewed your licence once, it may be valid for a longer period.

What happens if I don’t apply?

Failure to obtain a short-term let licence on time could result in a fine if you continue to operate.

I’ve sold my property, can the new owner use my licence?

No, unfortunately, you can’t transfer a licence. The licence is only valid for those named on it and the premises. The new owner will have to apply for a new licence.

Get in touch with our team today to start your Scottish Holiday Let Journey!

Please Note: The information contained in this article was accurate at the time of writing, based on our research. Rules, criteria and regulations change all the time, so please contact our prospective new owner team if you’d like to hear how. Nothing in this article constitutes the giving of financial, tax or legal advice to you; please consult your own professional advisor (accountant, lawyer etc). in this regard. If we have referred within the article to a third-party provider of unregulated holiday let mortgages, this is due to the fact that such mortgages aren’t currently regulated by the FCA. 

As a helpful reminder, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage, so again anything you decide to do in this particular area this is one on which you should take your own professional advice on too, as we aren’t providing and can’t provide you with this.