There is strong support for tighter regulation around Airbnb-style short-term lets as their growth continues, not least from within the sector.

However, it is claimed the Scottish Government’s legislative challenge on unregulated holiday homes is having a bottom trawling effect on existing businesses, and pushing some to quit the industry rather than be swept up in a new wave of bureaucratic expense.

The licensing scheme is meant to broach difficulties around unregulated lets amid concerns over the impact on housing supply and anti-social behaviour among other issues.

From October, many face a range of licensing costs extending from £86 to £24,000.

Those impacted are usually small businesses. The legislation comes down on operators of holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, pods, and yurts.

“The Scottish government has made a virtue of its plans to engage with industry and listen to their concerns,” said Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers.

The Herald: The licensing scheme impacts businesses across ScotlandThe licensing scheme impacts businesses across Scotland (Image: Getty)

First Minister Humza Yousaf is yet to take up the request to meet with industry leaders.

“We've heard nothing despite the fact that, during the leadership election, he readily agreed to meet,” said Ms Campbell on Friday. “We are incredibly disappointed at his snub and disdain for a sector worth approximately £1 billion to the Scottish economy.

“We are incredibly sad that the Scottish Government doesn't care that the only real outcome of this flawed legislation is that your next holiday in Scotland will be more expensive. Who wins? No one.”

She added: “There should be legislation, and we have provided a robust regulatory framework, but this approach is flawed and must be amended.

“It will not solve the housing crisis or distract from the declining number of new home builds being approved across Scotland.

“It will not deter rogue operators and will criminalise hard-working Scots trying to make ends meet and small business owners.”

An ASSC survey of 1,270 short-let businesses found more than 60% of operators had yet to apply for a licence.

Inside Airbnb report the number of listings in the UK has risen from 83,000 in 2016 to 339,000 in 2023.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Many hosts will already be able to meet licensing conditions as a matter of compliance with existing law or best practice. We already implemented a one-off six-month extension to the transitional deadline for hosts that were operating prior to October 2022 and thousands of hosts have already applied based on this.

“This means existing hosts have had 20 months since the legislation was passed to meet licence conditions and thousands of hosts have done this and already applied for a licence, with numbers increasing daily. Safety standards are paramount to regulating the short-term let sector and providing assurance of this to visitors and guests staying in Scotland.

“Ministers in different roles have met regularly with the ASSC throughout the passage of this legislation, and more frequently in recent months to discuss implementation, have taken feedback seriously and responded at length to issues raised.”

Deputy business editor Scott Wright led the way earlier in the week with his stories on the issue. He wrote that the Scottish self-catering industry slammed ministers for dismissing its concerns over a licensing regime amid fears over its “costly and onerous nature”.

The pressure is real across sectors, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey wrote that “inflationary aftershocks” are expected to lead to a surge in company failures across Scotland in the coming months.

Also this week, Ally McGrath, who featured on the BBC’s Great British Menu culinary competition, has put Osso in Peebles up for sale, reports business editor Ian McConnell. Selling agent Christie & Co said it has a freehold asking price of £235,000.