A tourism business representative has criticised the Scottish Government over its "failure" to publish the enforcement framework on short-term lets licensing ahead of this weekend's going live date.

Operators have been pressing for information around sanctions and fines connected to the new law and this is now coming "after the deadline and after hosts can be criminalised".

The Scottish Government said the framework, around licensing offences, operators' legal responsibilities and the nature of enforcement action will be published after the October 1 start of the mandatory licensing.

The law has been introduced in response to the rise of unregulated Airbnb-style short-term lets and issues around housing availability and anti-social behaviour.

Fiona Campbell, of the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers, said: "We have repeatedly been told by the Scottish Government that they can’t delay the legislation; that self-catering operators and B&B owners have had 'plenty of time to prepare'.

"Therefore, it’s preposterous to learn that the government has not prepared an enforcement framework for its own legislation in advance of the deadline, despite repeated calls from industry. 

“It defies all logic and common sense to communicate with operators about their legal obligations, while the government is yet to formulate its own position.

“If the government is intent on threatening law-abiding self-caterers with criminalisation after October 1, you would expect them to have established criteria and enforcement plans to be in place. But they have failed to do so."

She added: "As an industry, we are pro-health and safety and pro-regulation, already complying with existing H&S legislation. That has never been under question.

"This policy is beset by too many unresolved legal issues and unintended consequences. The only sensible way forward is to pause and reconsider what the original policy objective was, and whether the outcome will meet that objective. Industry and business leaders believe that it will not."

The Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Police Scotland and Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland are preparing the framework.

The Scottish Government said: "A joint statement on enforcement will be published after the deadline."

It also said: "Existing hosts have had 20 months to comply with conditions and a year to prepare and submit their application. If they submit a licence application before 1 October 2023 they can continue operating while it is processed. The maximum fine for operating without a licence is currently ÂŁ2,500. Operating without a licence may also impact insurance and other policies which could be invalid if a property is used without a licence.

"It is in the interests of all STL operators to apply ahead of the deadline."


Rishi’s red light a warning for the UK’s green agenda

Lord Willie Haughey believes UK Government changes to the UK’s climate pledges demonstrates the Conservatives “winding back on their green credentials and promises”.

His comment comes after Rishi Sunak announced a raft of moves, including delaying a ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by five years to 2035. The Prime Minister said he was making the changes because previous plans were unaffordable and unachievable. However, Sir Tom Hunter said: “I think this can be looked at in two ways. Sunak has said he agrees with the idea of getting to net zero by 2050 but doesn’t want to bankrupt the UK public on the way there."


MONEY HQ

The cost of a comfortable retirement in Scotland and the UK

This article appears as part of the Money HQ with Ben Stark newsletter.

We now have more information, more choices, and more responsibility for our retirement savings. But will the future we want be the future we are able to get?

The Retirement Living Standards, launched by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), aims to help people picture what kind of lifestyle they could have in the future.