Only a fraction of Scotland’s short-term lets operators have signed up for a new licensing regime, new figures reveal.

Scotland’s largest city has received just 78 applications for licences under new short-term lets legislation, the Scottish Government figures show.

In Edinburgh, where the council believes there are 12,000 short-term lets, there had been 90.

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) criticised the “risible” statistics showing a low level of short-term let licensing applications across Scotland.

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From October 1, all short-term lets from self-catering units to B&Bs, or people sharing a room in their home, will have to obtain a licence to operate.

The official statistics, published by the Scottish Government on Thursday, show a total 2,587 of so-called “valid applications” for short-term lets licences received by local authorities up to March 31.

The Scottish Government previously estimated that there were around 32,000 short-term lets in Scotland.

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The ASSC said the situation in Scotland’s two largest cities is “stark”. It showed Edinburgh Council had only received 90 “valid applications” for short-term let licensing in a city where the local council previously said there were 12,000 such properties.

In Glasgow, the most recent data revealed that the low number of 78 had been received.

Glasgow City Council said it cannot give a figure for how many applications it is expecting.

The figures only cover up to March 31 – the next tranche of data, covering April to June 2023, will not be available until after the October deadline.

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Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the ASSC, said: “Short-term let licensing remains riddled with problems as the October 1 deadline approaches and these statistics offer cold comfort for the Scottish Government.

"Widespread concern remains throughout the sector after ministers completely ignored our policy solutions to put things right.

"Indeed, what the frankly risible statistics don’t show is the total cost for these applications for small businesses like self-catering and B&Bs.

"For many, it is a cost too high to bear and many long-established self-caterers have already said enough is enough."

City of Edinburgh Council said last week that 240 had registered, with 111 approved, with council leader Cammy Day adding it will “continue to work closely with the sector to ensure everyone understands what they need to do to meet the deadline and operate within the law”.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council also said it is likely existing hosts will not put in applications until nearer the cut-off point, adding: “We are now seeing a rise in applications being lodged, as the October 1, 2023 deadline approaches.”

In Aberdeen, the number was 32, and in Dundee, just 18.