Any other hosts in Scotland? Amendment debate

Hi all. I have never posted here before so I hope it is appropriate! Would be interested in hearing other’s views on the new proposed amendment being debated currently over here in Scotland.

"If this amendment becomes law, it will affect you if:
You are the host of a property in Scotland that is not your primary residence, for example, your second home; and you do not have specific planning permission from your local authority to operate commercially.

If those conditions apply to you and the amendment becomes law, you will have to apply for planning permission from day one of hosting."

I will not be affected as I only rent my entire place for the duration of August, but am finding the whole debate really interesting. Seems to be a lot of lobbying on behalf of Air and encouraging Scottish hosts to speak out:

Scottish, but not a Scottish host anymore.

There was another thread somewhere about Glasgow City Council adopting guidelines regarding what can be STR and what can’t. It appears that (remote) hosts would have to apply to the planning department for a change of use.

The one aspect that is a killer for Airbnb hosts is that STR wont be allowed if the property has a communal entrance, i.e. a close (stairwell for non scottish persons :wink: )

@Jamjsco appears to have a good grip of the situation, hopefully he’ll pop along and can add to the discussion.


Maybe I’m being thick or something but doesn’t this simply mean that people who should have got a permit in the first place now need to?

No, as it stands there isn’t a “permit” as such for STR in Glasgow (Scotland as a whole?).

It’s to do with the classification of the property. In Glasgow they are saying that if you let a property out (all year round) then effectively it’s a business and not only do you have to apply to the council planning department for a change of use, i.e. from residential property to commercial property, you are also liable for business rates as opposed to simply paying council tax.

Glasgow City Council have also identified several areas within the city where they are indicating that a planning application will be refused.


1 Like

Hello all. @JohnF, thanks for the heads-up about this thread. Being a host in Scotland I, too, got the same email as @Edinburgh44 did - I have both a ‘business’/personal and professional interest in this matter. I have been following the new planning bill closely for these reasons.

Essentially much of what @JohnF summarises is correct.

As it stands, the use of a dwellinghouse, entirely or in part, is not development by law. Therefore planning permission, which regulates development, would not automatically be needed. The amendment proposed to the bill would change the definition of development, which Airbnb correctly advise that planning permission would be needed if this becomes law. This law would apply to the whole of Scotland in there is no discretion in its application by councils.

I should highlight that development would also occur, and planning permission would be needed, if a ‘material change of use’ to the dwellinghouse or flat occurs. This is already within the scope of existing planning legislation and is a matter of professional judgement by councils as to whether they believe development has taken place. @JohnF refers to earlier discussion on another thread and Glasgow City Council, and others, have taken a policy position of where they consider planning permission is needed - and those councils have taken enforcement action successfully on that basis. The materiality of the change is easier to discern for flats, given the communal element.

If the bill becomes law as proposed with the amendment you can seek a legally binding view from your council as to whether it is development or not. If it is development, you can thereafter ask for their opinion on the likelihood of an application being supported (both services may require a few to be paid).

This is only an outline of planning legislation as it stands and there may be secondary legislation that enacts further legal requirements to planning. Or, there may also be a need for another form of licensing as well.

Watch this space.

It’s the “communal entrance” issue that’s really going to kill hosts in Glasgow if they decide to be proactive, instead of currently only taking action if a complaint is made.

While we don’t have any STR property left in Glasgow anymore, I do have a vested interest here as I go back all the time and as I hate staying with family, I usually get myself an Airbnb for a few nights. It’s always a flat and it’s alway in a tenement style building.

“watch this space” is pretty appropriate…


1 Like

The Scottish Government recently launched a new consultation on the regulation of short-term lets:

Beyond town planning, the consultation is seeking views of the need for property registration and/or licensing.

Looks like there is an increase in enforcement proceedings.


Looks like there has been movement on this.


1 Like

Indeed, it is definitely happening. The licensensing requirement will affect all STRs. There will be discretion about conditions placed on properties beyond mandatory safety requirements. In some areas, particularly of Edinburgh and Glasgow, I think we will see the local authorities control extensive areas and this will greatly impact the number of STRs in these areas.

I don’t know the Edinburgh market, but I do know Glasgow. This will have a massive impact on STR hosts in the city, Southside and West End mainly.

If the councils force Airbnb to obtain registration numbers before a property can be listed (same as we have in Andalucia) then the compliant hosts are going to see a bit of a boom time. It’ll all be dependent on how much funding is allocated to administer the registration and potential inspection of properties by the relevant local authority.


The legislation could allow for proof of registration. It also seems to enable a ‘bottom up’ approach to regulating - allowing each council to set more demanding requirements, but I doubt they’d have the clout or influence to require further information from, or being provided by, Airbnb etc. I also imagine there will be a statutory or discretionary fee for the license system, there is for most other forms of locally administered licenses.

Airbnb appear to be well set up for requiring proof of registration now, so not sure they would need much clout!