An original architect of the Scottish clampdown on the rise of unregulated Airbnb-style short-term lets has called for councils to be granted powers to extend the introduction of the new laws.

Andy Wightman, the former Green and independent MSP who launched the Homes First campaign in Edinburgh in 2017, said it would be "appropriate" that local authorities have the ability to extend enforcement of the new law beyond the October 1 going live date “for applications for specific purposes”.

He pointed to criminal checks required by Renfrewshire Council, which state: “If you were born in the UK but you lived in any other country or countries for six months or more, you must provide a criminal record check from those countries.”

Mr Wightman said that “this is the first example I've seen of a legitimate cause concern” in relation to the implementation of short-term lets policy.

"I lived in Ethiopia for two years. No idea how I would get a criminal check if I operated a short-term let and was applying for a licence."

He said that “if such concerns and difficulties exist, an appropriate response would be to provide local authorities with the power to extend October 1 deadline for applications for specific purposes”.

He said: “There is no good reason to extend it nationally.

“All STL policies were consulted upon by all local authorities. Ultimately they are responsible for them and can, if they wish amend them. Perhaps Renfrewshire should have a rethink?”

The Herald: Land reformer and former Green Party MSP Andy Wightman in his Highland woodLand reformer and former Green Party MSP Andy Wightman in his Highland wood (Image: Gordon Terris)

Mr Wightman also said that commercial short-term lets “were the problem that I sought to address in my Homes First campaign in 2017 … but now B&Bs, glamping pods and folk swapping houses for two weeks in the summer are all caught up in a licensing scheme with no evidence of necessity”.

It comes as, with one month to go before the deadline for applications to be submitted, a new snap survey from the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) found 64% of 2,015 operators “could now close their doors”.

READ MORE: Scotland's crackdown on Airbnb-style short-term lets

One operator said that in Glasgow and Edinburgh there is “no confidence of success in application due to planning control” and nationally for firms like B&Bs costs are too restrictive versus income, against a background of a “complex and bureaucratic application process”.

MSPs from Scotland’s main political parties came together to sign a letter calling on First Minister Humza Yousaf to "urgently intervene and pause the rollout of Scotland’s short-term lets scheme" as few have come forward to sign up for what some in the industry have described as a "fiasco".

The calls come as new data shows that only 2.2% of operators who have applied for planning permission from City of Edinburgh Council – the first step of obtaining a license – have been approved, leaving almost all operators in the city facing an “effective ban” on short-term lets.

EXPLAINER: Airbnb, short-term holiday lets licensing

In a letter to the First Minister the 37 signatories urge a pause in the legislation stating: "We understand this flawed legislation is the legacy of a previous administration, so you have every right to pause it until a workable solution can be found.

"We are not asking you to scrap the principles, instead we are asking for your help to protect countless Scottish businesses - and the people and families that depend on them - from entirely avoidable hardship."

The Herald: The original plan was hatched in EdinburghThe original plan was hatched in Edinburgh (Image: Getty)

The Herald revealed this week that the latest figures were less than encouraging.

Paul McLennan, Scottish Housing Minister, appeared to warn against quiet refusal.

READ MORE: Our worst fears have been exceeded

He said: "Licensing has been developed following a period of significant change in the market for short-term let properties and in response to community concern about the impact of short-term lets in neighbourhoods.

"A similar scheme is being proposed by the Welsh Government. Holiday lets can contribute enormously to Scotland’s tourism industry, so the licensing scheme will give assurance to guests over the safety and consistent quality of lets, such as gas certificate compliance and suitable electrical equipment.

“Ministers in a range of capacities have engaged with the sector and listened to feedback. That is why we granted a one-off six-month extension to the scheme, which means hosts have had 20 months to complete an application. According to local authority data, no operator to date has been refused a licence, among those who have already applied.

“We will continue to engage with stakeholders and listen carefully to feedback, but extending the deadline once more will do a disservice to the thousands of operators who have already applied and many others who have prepared their property in order to receive one.

"So the responsible and balanced course of action is for everyone to get behind the task of encouraging and supporting short-term let operators to apply for a licence in good time and before the October 1 deadline.”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: "Our policy sets out that all new applications made under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 - including for taxi operators and drivers, street traders, and those seeking a short-term let - require a criminal record check and this has operated successfully since 2012.

"Where appropriate, the regulatory functions board can consider exceptions if the person can sufficiently explain at a meeting of the board why they cannot provide the check."

There are difficult times across tourism and hospitality. Business editor Ian McConnell revealed the moment of truth looms for Scottish hotels, restaurants and pubs against unprecedented headwinds.

The recent closure of acclaimed chef Brian Maule’s Chardon d’Or restaurant and the uncertain future of Mar Hall hotel in Renfrewshire were highlighted by deputy business editor Scott Wright in his most-read story of the week.

Elsewhere this week, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey examined the new challenges facing the UK electric vehicle market.