Plans for Airbnb owners in Glasgow to hold licences for short-term lets

A public consultation is set to be held on plans to introduce licences — including compulsory conditions and costs — for short-term let owners.

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Glasgow’s licensing and regulatory committee has approved carrying out a consultation on a draft policy after the Scottish Government agreed to bring in licences for short-term lets.

They will all require to be licensed by April 1, 2024, and councils must be able to accept applications by October 1 this year.

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Under the proposed policy, owners of properties, such as those let on Airbnb, would be required to pay a fee, between £125 and £400, to get a licence.

The flat can’t be used as an Airbnb.

A new three-year licence for a home letting or sharing for four guests or under would cost £125 while for five or more visitors it would cost £275. If the property is a secondary letting, the fee would be £250 for four or fewer guests and £400 for five or over.

Renewals would range from £75 to £350 depending on the property. Any application to vary a licence would cost £75.

Reasons for refusing, suspending or revoking a licence include if the owner or manager of the property is “no longer a fit and proper person to hold a licence” or if the continued operation of a short-term let is “causing or likely to cause undue public nuisance or a threat to public order or public safety”.

The suitability of the premises, including its condition and the “kind of persons” likely to be staying, will be considered before an application is granted.

From October, new hosts and operators will be able to advertise their premises but “cannot take bookings or have guests stay” until they are granted a licence.

Existing hosts, renting their premises as a short-term let before October 2022, will have until April 1, 2023, to apply for a licence. Prior to submitting the application, they can continue to rent the property.

“If your grant application is refused you cannot continue to operate your premises as a STL, subject to appeal,” the draft policy states.

Owners would be required to have the relevant planning permission to use their property as a short-term let or “a certificate of lawfulness confirming that the extent of the use does not amount to a material change of use”.

Applicants would also need to display a notice near their premises to show they are bidding for a licence. Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, councillors and community councils will be consulted on applications.

Objections could be submitted within 28 days and would lead to a hearing where “applicants and objectors will be given an equal opportunity to be heard”. Appeals against refused applications could be made to the Sheriff Court within 28 days.

Each licence could last for up to three years with owners then required to seek a renewal. They could be suspended immediately if the council, on advice from Police Scotland or Scottish Fire and Rescue, is “of the opinion that the carrying on of the activity to which the licence relates is causing or is likely to cause a serious threat to public order or public safety”.

A hearing would then be held to decide whether to suspend for a further period, revoke the licence or take no further action. It is a criminal offence to operate a short-term let without a licence, the draft policy states, and a public register of licence holders will be kept by the council.

Temporary exemptions may not be granted as “one of the reasons behind STL legislation being introduced is to ensure basic safety standards are in place” and, with temporary licences, there would be “no requirement to display a site notice, no opportunity for objections or representations to be received other than from the statutory consultees”.

However, the draft policy adds the council “may however, grant temporary exemptions for national events within Glasgow”.