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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 planning permission or a certificate of lawfulness (if the property has been a short-term let for at least 10 years). 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?

The use of an existing house or flat for holiday let does not ordinarily require planning permission as both permanent residential use and holiday let (including B&B) fall within Use Class 9 of The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1997 and in the case of flats (which are not in Class 9) the character of the use is generally similar. Planning permission may be required for property subdivision, and/or where a new self-catering unit is created. Please note there are some very rare exceptions where the planning authority may take the view that holiday let use of an existing house is a material change of use. There is no statutory definition for a material change of use; however, it is related to the character of the use and the consequent impact. Short-term lets are often considered to be in the same category as dwellings as they tend to be occupied by people to be regarded as forming a single household. If you are unsure where the use of a property as a short-term let requires planning permission, then please email planning@lochlomond-trossachs.org and we can advise. Please provide a full address so we are able to locate the property and your contact details.

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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. 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.

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 livepark@lochlomond-trossachs.org.

 

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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 – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

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

 

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