THE Scottish Government has been warned that “time is running out” to review its “disastrous” licensing regime for short-term holiday letting properties.

The controversial legislation, which gives local authorities the power to licence short-term lets in their areas, is due to go live on October 1.

But with less than two weeks until the system becomes law just over a third of short-term let businesses in Scotland have applied for a new licence, according to a new survey.

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A snapshot survey published this morning by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, which has been calling for the new laws to be reviewed and delayed amid concerns over their cost and complexity, found that just 36% have applied for a licence, while among those have applied only 10% have been granted a licence.

In Edinburgh, it found 22% have applied and just 1% of that number have been granted a licence, and in Perthshire 38% of operators have applied, with 8% securing a consent.

Respondents who have not applied for a licence cited “prohibitive costs” and the “onerous and time-consuming” application process. Others said they did not have confidence that their application, which demands a non-refundable fee, would be granted.

In addition, the ASSC said many operators remain “deeply uncomfortable” about sharing personal data as part of the application process.

As exclusively reported in The Herald last week, the organisation has written to First Minister Humza Yousaf to warn that the legislation may be in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights, and data protection and privacy laws. Some 70% of respondents to the ASSC survey said they were concerned by the requirement by some councils to display personal information in public spaces.

The Scottish Government said last week that it was "considering the terms of the letter  from the ASSC and will respond appropriately in due course". It added: "Six impact assessments, including a Data Protection Impact Assessment, were published as part of the 2020 consultation on the scheme."

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A total of 1,848 businesses responded to the survey in 48 hours, which the ASSC said represent 17,563 bed spaces in the tourism sector.

The survey found that only 53% of businesses plan to remain open, which could lead to more than 6,200 bed spaces being lost to the tourism sector based on the survey sample.

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of ASSC, said: “These survey results indicate small tourism accommodation providers have little to no confidence in the licensing scheme. They remain concerned about a whole range of issues, from extortionate fees to the sharing of personal information. Operators are already leaving the sector with many more poised to follow suit.

“Time is running out. The Scottish Government need to pause their disastrous scheme and get a grip of the situation with an urgent review before it is too late. The self-catering sector stands ready to work with ministers and officials to put in place a fair, proportionate, and legally sound regulatory framework.”

Scottish ministers remain committed to introducing the scheme on October 1.

Last week, a bid by the Scottish Conservatives to pause the legislation via a motion tabled at Holyrood failed to win sufficent support.