First Minister Humza Yousaf has responded to a call from a self-catering industry body that was backed by 37 MSPs over a call to pause Scotland's short-term lets law.

Mr Yousaf wrote to Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers, on Friday over the plea last month that included signed support from MSPs including Fergus Ewing, former Tourism Minister, Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour deputy leader,  Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader.

Mr Yousaf wrote to Ms Campbell: "I have received your letter of August 30, signed by a number of MSPs.

"My government recognises the value of the short-term let sector which makes a significant contribution to Scotland’s tourism industry.

"That is why a licensing approach has been developed over the last 5 years, at a time of significant change in the short term let sector, to underpin and safeguard the reputation that high quality operators have worked hard to build, and to strike a balance with community concerns.

"Over those years ministers have worked hard with and listened carefully to the representations made by the sector."

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He continued: "The scheme which we are now implementing reflects many of those discussions and we continue to listen to and respond to reasoned and constructive feedback which works within the overall objectives of the scheme.

"I acknowledge the proposals that you suggest to amend the scheme, which have been taken seriously by ministers and I can reassure you that councils must grant a licence unless there is valid reason not to.

"As part of our engagement we granted a one-off six-month extension to the scheme, which means existing hosts have had a full year to complete an application, and have known about the core requirements required by legislation for nearly two years. Ministers were very clear that the extension was a one-off in order to give the clarity needed to hosts, and noting that so long as application is submitted by the deadline operators can continue trading.

"No operator to date has been refused a licence, among the several thousand who have already applied and where clarification is required to progress an application councils are working with applicants to support them through the process."

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Mr Yousaf said: "We have also been clear that we will evaluate application levels and other implementation issues in early 2024.

"The focus should therefore now be on that process and 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 I believe that 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 before the October 1 deadline."

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The ASSC and MSPs wrote last month: "Together, we call on you to pause the roll out of the Scottish government’s flawed legislation for self-catering premises.

"The breadth of the 37 signatories to this letter shows just how widely these consequences will be felt, risking irreparable damage to Scotland’s vital tourism sector and the small businesses that drive it.

"On behalf of the signatories to this letter, we believe there is significant positive progress that can be made if a pause period is used to re-evaluate this inherited legislation."

Ms Campbell said in response to Mr Yousaf's letter: "The First Minister has just signed off the New Deal for Business.

"Now he must show true leadership and stand by them. This letter is illustrative that he is falling at the first hurdle."

The law has been brought in to help tackle issues around the rise of unregulated Airbnb-style short-term lets in Scotland including housing pressures and anti-social behaviour.