INDUSTRY leaders have warned that the Scottish Government’s updated plans to crackdown on Airbnb-style short-term lets “would be disastrous for the sector and for local economies up and down Scotland”.

Last month, SNP ministers published updated proposals to require councils to introduce a licensing regime for owners of short-term let properties, who could face hefty fines for not obtaining the correct paperwork.

Updated guidelines on the ability for councils to set out short-term let control areas have also been published.

MSPs on Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee are set to hear from Fiona Campbell form the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, David Weston from the Scottish Bed and Breakfast Association – along with Amada Cupples from Airbnb and Shomik Panda, the director general of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA).

READ MORE: SNP facing legal threat over plans to crackdown on Airbnbs

Mr Panda has warned MSPs about the impact pressing ahead with the plans could have on businesses already struggling to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

SNP ministers were forced to make changes to their plans including removing the ability for councils to obtain overprovision powers.

But in a letter to the committee, Mr Panda has insisted that “we still believe that these regulations remain overly onerous”, adding that the new rules “will inevitably result in short-term rental operators withdrawing from the market”.

He added: “The STAA believes that the Scottish Government’s concerns around safety and housing can be addressed via a much lighter-touch regulatory regime, one that will not have the negative consequences that we believe the current proposals will entail.

“We therefore urge you and your colleagues on the committee to reject these proposals when you come to vote on them.

“The STAA would be delighted to continue working with stakeholders across Scotland to design a new regime which is more balanced and proportionate than the one which is currently on the table. However, we do feel very strongly that the current legislation would be disastrous for the sector and for local economies up and down Scotland.”

READ MORE: 'It's a sham': Tourism bosses quit SNP's Airbnb crackdown group

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said the plans “will ensure short-term lets are safe and the people providing them are suitable”.

She added: “We want short term lets to continue making a positive impact on Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies while meeting the needs of local communities.

“Short-term lets can offer people a flexible travel option. However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hotspots, high numbers of lets can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in. The licensing scheme and control area legislation give councils the powers to take action where they need to.

“We appreciate the input from tourism bodies, local government, community organisations and others in reaching this point, and look forward to delivering a short-term lets licensing scheme that works for Scotland.”