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 - mygov.scot
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.
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.
Following completion of the application, you will be required to provide a range of evidence to the email@example.com mailbox. Please check below for further information on the required documentation.
The Scottish Government have comprehensive guidance for Short Term Let Host and Operators, which can be found at Short Term Let - Licensing Scheme Guidance Part 1. Appendix B of this guidance also includes an Application Checklist which you can use to ensure your application is deemed fully competent for processing.
The following documentation must be submitted as part of your application:
Gas Safety Certificate
Does not apply to properties that have no gas installation. The inspection must have been carried out by a Gas Safe registered person. If your property has a gas supply, you must carry out annual gas safety inspections and hold a current gas safety certificate. Further information can be found on the Gas Safe RegisterServices - Gas Safe Register
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
You must arrange for a competent person to:
(a) produce a Portable Appliance Testing Report on moveable appliances to which a guest has access; and
(b) date-label and sign all moveable appliances which have been inspected.
Information on portable appliance testing can be found on HSE's website at PAT - Portable appliance testing
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
Does not apply to properties with no electrical fittings or items within the parts of the property which are not for guest use, or to which guests are not permitted to have access. The report must be dated within the last 5 years. Please ensure that you upload all pages of the document. Further information can be found in the at Electrical installations and appliances in private rented properties: guidance
The checklist has been incorporated into the application form. Please ensure that you have an appropriate fire risk safety assessment in place for your property. You can find information below;
Booking and Payment details from customers
To demonstrate that you are an existing short-term let business. This requirement does not apply to properties which started operating from 1 October 2022. Existing operators should provide evidence of previous booking dates and confirmation or receipt of payments for these bookings.
You do not need to provide personal details of the guests or bank account information. Booking records from September 2022 or the previous months would be sufficient.
A site plan, including boundaries, ideally to a scale of 1:50.
For an assessment of the maximum number of guests that can be accommodated safely, applicants must submit floor plan(s) for their property.
Every effort should be made to submit professional plans, however, if you are unable to do this, hand drawn plans will be acceptable providing that they are reasonably to scale or adequately dimensioned. Ideally these plans should include a floor plan of each floor to a scale of 1:50 and if showing elevations to a scale of 1:100.
The floor plans should include reference to:
· Room sizes
· Fire escape routes
· Accommodation intended for guests with mobility impairment
· Smoke and heat detector locations
· Carbon Monoxide detectors (if an open flued appliance is fitted)
· Outline footprint of short term let property in red
· The maximum occupancy capacity of each short term let property
You can view a list of all applications on the . If you wish to object to an application, or make a representation, you can download the and submit this via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can review the 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.
|Type of Application||Fee|
|Home Sharing/Home Letting/Home Sharing and Letting|
|Variation to Licence||£150|
|Temporary Licence1||50% of the full licence cost|
|Inspection and Report2||£120|
1 If an application is made for a full licence during the application period for a temporary licence for the same premises or during the period of effect of the temporary licence the fee paid for the temporary licence will be deducted from the full licence application fee.
2 An inspection fee will only be charged if the council deems it necessary to inspect premises following a complaint.
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.
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.
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 Site Notice and Certificate of Compliance will be sent with acknowledgement of an application once it has been determined it is competent application.
Objections may be made by neighbours or any other person who wants to raise an objection on the Short-term Let application. Competent grounds for objection may include:
- Concerns that the application is inaccurate or misleading
- Concerns about the safety of guests, neighbours or others
- Concerns about noise or nuisance; and
- Concerns the application runs contrary to other legal or contractual requirements
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 Site Notice of the application being given.