New Legislation Means Short-Term Let Landlords Should Think Ahead, Says Clan Gordon

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Edinburgh’s leading letting agent Clan Gordon is advising landlords to think ahead and decide whether to switch to long-term lets following new legislation just passed by the Scottish government that means the city must establish a short-term let licensing scheme by 1 October.

Edinburgh has the highest number of properties being used for short-term lets in Scotland, representing two thirds of all short-term lets across the country. Many are in tenement blocks with shared communal spaces, leading to complaints about noise and anti-social behaviour. 

Edinburgh Housing Shortage

Edinburgh’s tourist destination status and large number of annual festivals and events make it desirable for many landlords to offer short-term lets, but this reduces the supply of homes for permanent residents and pushes up prices, which has been of increasing concern to the Scottish government and the city council.

Government legislation allowing local councils to establish short-term let control areas and manage numbers of short-term lets came into force in April 2021 – something the City of Edinburgh’s Planning Committee spoke in favour of last August, citing three main reasons:

  • To help manage high concentrations of secondary letting, which affects the availability of residential housing and the character of neighbourhoods
  • To restrict short-term lets in places or types of building where it is not appropriate
  • To help ensure homes are used to best effect

New Legislation

This latest legislation makes licensing schemes for short-term lets mandatory by October this year. All short-term lets in Scotland must be licenced by 1 July 2024, and existing landlords offering short-term lets will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence.

Planning permission and permitted use licence may be needed

Sound complicated? There’s a lot for Edinburgh’s short-term let landlords to get their heads around… 

Edinburgh Council will next month decide whether to designate the city a short-term let control area, which would mean a property would require planning permission for change of use and a licence to be permitted for use as a short-term let.

Change of use planning applications considered on an individual basis

If the short-term let control area is introduced, planning applications for change of use to short-term lets will be considered on an individual basis, and the impact on neighbouring properties will be a strong factor. Properties that have been consistently used for short-term lets for a significant number of years without any enforcement action may be entitled to a Certificate of Lawfulness rather than the landlord having to apply for retrospective planning permission.

Those who rent out rooms in their main residence as short-term lets – often the case during the festival season - are not impacted by any of the new legislation. 

Time to review your situation

With so many changes being introduced, Clan Gordon recommends short-term let landlords review their current situation and rental options, considering long-term lets as a possible solution where planning permission is less likely to be granted (such as in communal buildings).

As Edinburgh’s leading letting agent, our team at Clan Gordon are experts on the lettings market and we manage more than 500 properties for landlords across the city. If you are thinking of long-term letting and want peace of mind that your property is well managed, schedule a call with one of our advisors today.

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