Scotland’s short-term lets play a vital role in our tourism industry, they allow easy access for tourists to Scotland’s hot spots and allow visitors to invest in the local economy.

Recently we have seen a boom in these properties, giving tourists even more options to explore the best Scotland can offer. Short-term accommodation can take many forms including hosts letting a room in their own home, B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering units.

I have stayed in many short-term lets when holidaying in Scotland and attending family events. The vast majority of hosts are responsible and keep their lets to the highest of standards. Licensing builds consumer confidence and Scotland’s reputation by ensuring there is consistent compliance across all type of lets and no matter where they are located.

The Herald:

Guests can be assured lets are safe, well-managed and comply with basic safety standards such as gas certificates and appropriate electrical equipment- just as hotels and caravan parks must do. Residents and communities also now know their council has powers to respond where specific concerns are raised about impacts to their quality of life.

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During development and implementation of the legislation, ministers across the Scottish Government, including myself, have met with different stakeholders from across the sector on multiple occasions. In listening to the industry, we agreed a six-month extension to the transitional deadline for existing hosts.

This means, if you used your accommodation as a short-term let before October 2022, you have now had nearly two years to comply with licensing conditions and a year to prepare and submit your application by October 1, 2023.

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The importance of applying for a licence before the October 1 deadline is existing hosts can then continue to take bookings and receive guests after 1 October while their application is being determined. Councils are supporting applicants with any missing information to enable applications to be processed as quickly as possible.

Councils are ready to receive applications and the supportive approach is borne out by official statistics, which show many thousands of licences have been granted and none have been refused.

The responsible thing to do for all in the sector is to encourage hosts to apply for a licence before the October 1 deadline.

Paul McLennan is the Scottish Housing Minister