Short-term lets licence applications topped 23,000 by end of 2023

Short-term lets licence applications topped 23,000 by end of 2023

Paul McLennan

New statistics on Scotland’s Short-Term Lets Licensing Scheme have revealed that local authorities received at least 23,576 applications for a short-term lets licence by the end of December 2023.

Since the scheme opened on October 1st 2022, 14,539 short-term lets licence applications were received and validated by local authorities, with at least 9,037 additional applications received but not yet validated, the statistics added.

Local authorities do not have to provide data to the Scottish Government on applications that have not been validated so the publication reports a partial picture of all applications received. When the snapshot of data was taken for this publication, local authorities were working to validate a large volume of applications received by 1st October 2023 deadline for existing hosts to continue operating. This includes working with applicants to obtain all the information required to validate an application. Therefore, these statistics are subject to upward revision in subsequent publications.

Over half (55 per cent or 7,989) of all validated applications (14,539) so far were received in the quarter (July to September 2023) just before the 1 October cut off for existing hosts and operators to apply for a provisional licence to continue operating.

The majority (11,505 or 79 per cent) of validated applications relate to secondary letting (i.e. where a non-primary residence is let out), with 1,537 (11 per cent) relating to home sharing, 837 (6 per cent) for home letting, and 660 (5 per cent) for a mixture of home sharing and letting.

As of 31 December 2023, nearly half (49 per cent) of the validated applications were granted a licence, and half (50 per cent) of the applications were pending determination. A minority of applications were withdrawn, refused, lapsed or suspended (1 per cent).

Local authorities have 12 months to process an application from existing hosts and 9 months for new hosts. 96 per cent (1,401) of applications received between October and December 2022 had a licence granted within 12 months. 1 per cent (19) of the applications received in this period were withdrawn and 3 per cent (38) were pending determination as of end December 2023.

12,435 licences or exemptions were in operation as of 31 December 2023. Full licences accounted for over half (57 per cent or 7,085) of this number and 43 per cent (5,350) were provisional licences pending a final decision. There were 27 temporary licences and exemptions. However, there will be applications eligible for a provisional licences not reported in this publication if the local authority had not validated the application by 31 December 2023.

31,896 bedrooms and a total maximum occupancy of 63,798 people were reported in the licences or exemptions in operation granted.

Housing minister Paul McLennan welcomed the new figures and urged applicants to ensure their application can be processed as quickly as possible.

He said: “It is encouraging to see that, up to the end of December 2023, at least 23,576 applications have been received by local authorities for a short-term let license. However, these only provide a partial picture which will gradually be completed as local authorities continue to validate applications and include them in their data returns.

“Licensing also safeguards the important role short-term let accommodation plays in our economy by providing assurance to guests on safety and quality, such as gas certificate compliance and suitability of electrical equipment.

“While licensing authorities do not have to report unvalidated applications, partial data was provided from 23 authorities that highlights there were at least 9,000 unvalidated applications. I urge applicants to work with authorities to provide missing documentation to ensure their application can be processed as quickly as possible.

“Local authorities have 9 to 12 months to process applications from the moment they receive them. Existing hosts can continue to receive guests and take guest bookings whilst their application is being considered.”

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