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Short-term letting in the National Park

We will be working with our partner local authorities to analyse the number of Short-Term Let Licence applications received across the National Park and thereafter assess if there is any evidence to support the establishment of Short-Term Let Control Areas within the National Park. If a Control Area is established, then all short-term let properties within that area (both existing and new) will require an application for planning permission (or a certificate of lawfulness if the property does not already have planning permission for holiday/tourism use but has been operating as a short-term let for 10 years or more). This is a matter that will be considered in preparing the next Local Development Plan into 2023.

In recent years across Scotland, there has been a rise in the number of houses and flats being taken out of full-time principal residences and used as short-term tourism related accommodation. This has been due to the increase in stay cations, peer to peer advertising sites like Airbnb and Vbro and in addition tighter regulations for landlords in relation to long-term private rental. There has been issues across Scotland of this affecting the access to homes for local people and also disturbance in residential areas (particularly the case in Edinburgh).

To address this issue, the Scottish Government introduced new legislation in 2021 to allow planning authorities in Scotland to designate all or part of their area as a Short-Term Let Control Area. Alongside this was also new licencing legislation which is control by local authorities. This page will provide you with information on both control areas and where you can find out about the new licencing.

Do I need planning permission to use my house/flat as a short-term let?

Planning permission is required for all ‘development’. The meaning of ‘development’ is set out in Section 26 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended). The definition of development includes a material change of use of land or buildings, even if there are no physical alterations to the land or building.

It is important to note that if a premises meets the definition of a Short-Term Let under the Licensing Act and requires a Licence, it does not automatically require planning permission for the use as a short term let. It is for the Planning Authority to decide if the use of the premises as a short term let is/was a ‘material’ change of use (see below).

From a licencing perspective outwith a Control Area, planning permission is not required to grant a licence. It is the operator’s responsibility to ensure they have the appropriate planning permission in place, and the determination as to whether planning permission is required lies with the Planning Authority.

The four Councils as the licensing authorities across the National Park, will consult us on all applications for Short Term Let Licences within the National Park area and we will advise them of the need (or otherwise) for planning permission in each case.

You do not need to obtain proof of planning permission from the National Park prior to making your licence application. However, if you have supporting information/documentation (such as a Decision Notice) then you should submit this.

New Buildings or Structures

Generally, any proposed new buildings or structures (including portable buildings such as chalets, caravans or pods) that are to be erected, or sited, on land for the purposes of short term lets will require planning permission.
Proposals for new or converted garden buildings or structures (eg. Garages, sheds, extensions, pods etc) for use as short term lets will not benefit from householder permitted development rights and will require planning permission.

Home Sharing (inc. Bed & Breakfast)

Use Class 9 (dwellinghouses) of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1997 permits shared use of a home as a bed and breakfast establishment where at any one time not more than two bedrooms, or not more than one bedroom in the case of premises having fewer than four bedrooms, are used for that purpose.
A residential property where 3 or more bedrooms are let for this purpose would fall within Use Class 7 (Guesthouse) rather than Class 9 and this would generally require planning permission. Class 9 does not allow subdivision (I.e., the use of any part of the dwelling as a separate house) so where self-catering accommodation is provided within an existing house, planning permission will generally be required.

Change of Use of Existing Buildings or Structures (including the use of whole homes/flats)

Deciding if planning permission is required to change the whole of an existing property into a short term let can be complex, particularly in relation to existing residential properties.
Where the existing property is not residential accommodation or existing tourist accommodation, it is likely that planning permission will be required to change its use to a short term let.
Where the existing property is residential accommodation or existing tourist accommodation, planning permission is not generally required to use it as a short term let.
However, although infrequent, there are some cases where the need for permission to use a residential property for short term let is not clear cut. The Planning Authority will consider, on a case-by-case basis, whether proposals to use a property for holiday let would represent a material change of use and therefore require planning permission. Key considerations will be the likely impacts on immediate neighbours, the wider local amenity and infrastructure of the proposed use in the proposed location.

Examples of material considerations on the subject of Short Term Lets include:

  • The type of the property (e.g. Flat / Detached Dwellinghouse / Semi or Terraced Dwellinghouse) and its relationship to its neighbours (e.g. substantial garden/shared access);
  • The number of bedrooms;
  • The number of guests staying (based on maximum capacity to be licensed);
  • Their likelihood to be a single household;
  • Frequency of arrivals and departures;
  • Frequency and intensity of noisy or otherwise unsocial activities;
  • The existing character and prevailing use of the area;
  • Impact on public services and infrastructure such as parking, water supply, foul drainage and waste collection;
  • Use of communal areas and shared access;

Although to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, it is considered that a detached used on a single household basis as a short term let is less likely to represent a material change of use than the use of a flat in a multiple unit building. However, use of a single house by multiple households on holiday together can also represent a material change of use, context depending. Given the way the legislation has developed, it is not possible to generally conclude that the use of houses as short term lets will not be material and the use of flats will be material, but in general it is expected that no material change of use is likely to occur if appropriate household occupancy levels are maintained.

Further Guidance

Informal Advice Required:
Hosts/Operators requiring property specific guidance on the requirement for planning permission for the change of use of an existing dwelling are advised to submit their enquiry via the National Park’s Pre-Application Enquiry Service. Please note that this is a free service and we aim to respond within 21 days (although this is not always possible as we must prioritise planning applications).

Formal Decision Required:
Hosts/Operators who require a formal decision from the National Park Authority confirming the planning status of their premises are advised to either submit an application for planning permission (for new/existing development operating for less than 10 years), or a certificate of lawful development (for existing development operating continuously for a period exceeding 10 years). Applications can be submitted online. Fees apply.

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What happens if we designate a control area?

There are currently no Short-term Let Control Areas in the National Park. However please note a Control Area can be designated after a premises has already obtained a licence. In this instance, licence holders will be given a reasonable opportunity to comply with the mandatory condition by submitting a planning application or application for a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development as soon as possible after the control area is designated. If the CLUD or planning permission is refused this may result in the licence being refused, varied or revoked as appropriate.

As stated above, whether we introduce control areas will be a matter considered in preparing our next Local Development Plan. A decision will be taken following consultation and engagement with stakeholders and communities. If it is decided to designate a control area we must follow the process has set out in legislation – Planning Circular 01/2021: Short-term control areas.

A Short-Term Let Control Area is not a ban on short term lets but instead it is intended to allow planning authorities to use planning policies to assess applications which would involve a change of use of a dwelling/flat to a short-term let property.

If we decide to designate a control area, we must publish a notice of the proposal to designate an area and consult on the proposal, then submit the proposal to Scottish Ministers and obtain their approval then subject to approval we will give notice of the designation, setting out the area to be covered and the date on which the control area will come into effect. A control area could cover the whole of the National Park or a part of it.

Once designated, any property that falls inside a Short Term Let Control Area that is used or is proposed to be used for short-term let would require to apply for planning permission to use the dwelling as a short term let or a certificate of lawfulness. Note: any property operating for more than 10 years would be able to apply for a certificate of lawfulness and there is no assessment in principle regarding the use, the evidence would be examined in terms of proof of the length of time the property operated.

We may develop a local policy that would be used to determine any applications for a change of use from a dwelling to a holiday let and similarly this policy would be subject to consultation. However, National Planning Framework 4 may also include an overarching policy – currently the draft policy states “proposals for short- term holiday letting should not be supported if it would result in an unacceptable impact on the local amenity or character of a neighbourhood; or the loss of residential accommodation where such loss is not outweighed by local economic benefits.”

We intend to undertake engagement on this matter within 2022/23 with local communities, businesses and other relevant stakeholders. We have already started to gather evidence in relation to the number of short-term lets in the National Park and are happy to speak to any community that has an interest in the matter. Please email


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Do I need a licence for using my house/flat as a short-term let?

From the 1st October 2022 all new short-term let property owners must apply for a licence from your Local Authority (not the National Park Authority) and by 23rd April 2023 all existing short-term let property owners must have obtained a licence from the relevant Local Authority. The Local Authority will consult us as planning authority for the National Park area on any such application.

Depending which area your house/flat is in within the National Park, then you apply to the relevant Council – Stirling, Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire or Perth & Kinross. All four councils will shortly publish details on their websites and a policy relating to short-term licence applications. In the meantime, you may find this resource helpful: Short term lets – licensing scheme part 1: guidance for hosts and operators – (

West Dunbartonshire Short Term Let Licence
Perth and Kinross Short Term Let Licence
Stirling Short Term Let Licence
Argyll and Bute Short Term Let Licence


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