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Short-term Lets

The Scottish Government has introduced legislation that requires councils to operate a licensing regime for short-term lets in their council areas.

You can find out more about the legislation and read the Scottish Government guidance for hosts and operators at Short-term let licences -

Information on the Scheme

Existing providers of Short Term Lets have until 1 October 2023 to apply for a licence and can continue to trade while any application is being processed. We must determine those applications within 12 months.

Operators of new short term lets that intend to begin trading on or after 1 October 2022 must be licenced before they can begin trading. Those applications must be determined within 9 months.

As new host and operators must be licensed before accepting bookings, these applications will be prioritised. The council also recommends that new hosts and operators apply for a temporary licence as they last for a maximum period of 6 weeks, a full licence application should be submitted at the same time or during the 6-week period. The temporary licence will remain in place until a determination has been made on the full licence application.

There are four types of licence for short-term let accommodation:

  • Secondary letting - The letting of property where you do not normally live, for example a second home that is let to guests
  • Home letting - Using all or part of your own home for short-term lets, whilst you are absent. An example of this could be whilst you are on holiday
  • Home sharing - Using all or part of your own home for short-term lets, whilst you are there
  • Home letting and home sharing - Operating short-term lets from your own home while you are living there and for periods when you are absent

You can use the Scottish Government site to check if you will require a licence and which licence you will need to apply for. 

Check which licence you need

Do not use the Landlord Registration process for short term let related licence applications as Landlord Registration is a separate scheme.

Apply for a licence

You can now apply for a licence online. Once you have applied, your application will be checked to ensure it is complete and contact will then be made to process payment. Until payment has been received your application cannot be progressed. 

Apply for a Short-term Let Licence

Following completion of the application, you will be required to provide a range of evidence to the mailbox. Please check below for further information on the required documentation. 


You can view a list of all applications on the Public Register [82KB] . If you wish to object to an application, or make a representation, you can download the  Objection Form [25KB] and submit this via email to the mailbox. You can review the  Objection Form Guidance [16KB] to assist completion of the Objection Form. 


To make it possible for councils to deliver this licensing scheme, national legislation allows for councils to set fees that reflect the cost of delivering the service in their area. Fees for West Lothian were agreed at a meeting of the Council Executive on 20 December 2022. These are available in the fee schedule below.


As part of the implementation of the short-term lets licensing scheme, the council must publish a policy for short-term let licensing in the West Lothian Council area.  The council's policy was agreed at a meeting of the Council Executive on 20 December 2022 and sets out its proposed approach to the implementation of the scheme.

Short-term Lets Policy [267KB]

The consultation opened at 12 noon on Monday 31 October and closed on Friday 18 November. Responses to the consultation are available below.

Planning Permission

You can find further information on planning permission requirements on our planning webpages.

West Lothian Council does not intend on implementing Control Area Regulations mainly due to the estimated, low prevalence of Short-term Let activity in the local authority area. This will be kept under review as the application process opens and we can establish overall prevalence.

Under provisions within the Licensing Order, a preliminary ground for refusing to consider an application for a Short-term Let is that the use of the proposed premises would constitute a breach of planning controls set out under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 by virtue of Section 123(1) (a) or (b) of that Act.

Host and operators are, therefore encouraged to engage with the council's planning department prior to submitting a licence application to confirm whether they require planning permission or a certificate of lawful use of development.

Notifying Neighbours and Communities

Hosts are responsible for notifying residents and neighbours of their application for a new Short-term Let Licence, or their renewal of an existing Short-term Let Licence.

Applicants are required to display a site Notice clearly at, or near the premises so that it can be conveniently read by the public, for a period of 21 days. The Public Notice and Certificate of Compliance will be sent with acknowledgement of an application once it has been determined it is competent application.

All objections or representations must:

·         Be made in writing (including email and online objection form)

·         Specify the ground(s) of the objection or nature of the representation;

·         Specify the name and address of the person making it; and

·         Be signed by the objector, or on their behalf

Objections or representations should be made within 28 days of Public Notice of the application being given.