It is a small family business that has accrued a clutch of awards over more than two decades and is currently Scotland’s Bed and Breakfast of the Year.

However, despite earning regular plaudits Avril Rennie said Carlton Seamill in West Kilbride, Ayrshire, could close.

Ms Rennie said she finds the bureaucracy around new tourism laws difficult and potential costs for her large Victorian house restrictive on her income.

The Scottish Hospitality Awards-recognised business, which has welcomed guests including Judy Murray, is a “traditional B&B” in an original building that has won 17 awards.

Ms Rennie's concerns come as Scotland’s new short-term lets legislation is ready to go live in October, when operators of accommodation from guest houses to tenement flats must have applied for a licence to do business.

“I inherited the family home 20 years and my family have owned this house for over 70 years now,” Ms Rennie told The Herald. “It is a very unusual house in that it is a Victorian house that is almost completely unaltered.

“If you are looking for state-of-the-art modernity, that is not what it is, but if you are looking for an authentic Victorian house then it has got to be one of the best. It has got a lot to offer."

The Herald:

However, Ms Rennie, who earlier received a congratulatory letter from Richard Lochhead, Scottish Tourism Minister, describing the B&B as a “shining example”, said that the changes now coming in mean “you find your business more or less at risk because of bureaucracy”.

She said: “You are probably talking about thousands of pounds, and you don’t necessarily get accepted, which I hope mine would be.”

The law has been brought in as a response to issues around growing numbers of unregulated Airbnb-style short-term lets in Scotland, including housing pressures and anti-social behaviour.

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Ms Rennie said: “The thing is, we are already getting inspected. We get inspected by the environmental health people, by the fire people and in my case by the AA because I am listed with the AA.

“I feel that the controls are quite sufficient."

The Herald: Carlton Seamill B&B, on Ardrossan Road, was named the Bed and Breakfast of the Year Overall Winner at the prestigious Scottish Hospitality AwardsCarlton Seamill B&B, on Ardrossan Road, was named the Bed and Breakfast of the Year Overall Winner at the prestigious Scottish Hospitality Awards (Image: Newsquest)

She said that traditional B&Bs have been “swept up in the same category” as the unregulated Airbnb-style short-term lets.

“We are actually a very different thing, because with a traditional B&B, you have a live-in host or hostess and you get breakfast, unless you don’t want it.

“The traditional B&B will invariably have all the right insurances and things like that because we are inspected.

“As well as obviously receiving guests myself I am actually passing my guests on to local businesses who might go out to the pub or out for a meal, maybe go to the shops, or hire a taxi.

“I’m passing this on to people and all the other B&Bs are doing the same.

“When you add it up it is much more significant than it might appear from the outset.”

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She added: “I don't want to close my B&B - my beloved family home - but it could happen this autumn.”

Other issues have emerged. Louise Dickins, director of the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers and business operator, said: "There is no provisional licence scheme in place, so anyone needing finance to buy a trading small accommodation business cannot prove to a lender that they will get a license, so lenders won’t lend.

"This also impacts on the going concern aspect for the person wanting to sell.

"Many bed and breakfasts and guesthouses are too large to be demanded as family homes, and so the ability to sell and buy them as businesses is crucial."

The Herald: Mr Weston at a protest at the Scottish Parliament over the issueMr Weston at a protest at the Scottish Parliament over the issue (Image: Duncan McGlynn)

David Weston, of the Scottish Bed and Breakfast Association, said the ripple effect would bring a "de facto freeze on finance for our sector, as funders refuse finance to businesses who cannot guarantee they will have a licence to trade".

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We are always willing to support anyone requiring guidance or advice on the short-term lets scheme however it would be inappropriate to comment on individual cases.”

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Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: “We have been assured by the Scottish Government that ministers and officials are both committed to processing lodged application submissions in time and that they will take a light-touch approach to the applications, working with owners to help get them through the approval process.”

Paul McLennan, Scottish Housing Minster, said: “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.”