Concerns raised over impact of short-term lets scheme on north-east region
A North East MSP has warned that the Scottish Government’s “reckless” new short-term lets scheme is hammering the region's tourism sector.
New figures showed 16 per cent of licence applications have been withdrawn across Aberdeen.
The new law requiring operators of short-term lets to have a licence came into force across Scotland on October 1.
Anyone providing short-term let (STL) accommodation must now have a licence or face a ban and fine of up to £2500.
Figures released on Monday by the Scottish Government show out of the 51 licences applied for in the city at the end of June, eight were withdrawn while a further 19 still had not been granted.
Aberdeen’s figure for withdrawn applications (16 per cent) is the highest percentage in Scotland.
In Aberdeenshire, 64 applications are still pending a decision accounting for 36 per cent of the total applications which have been made so far.
MSP Liam Kerr, who signed a letter urging Humza Yousaf to make a last minute U-turn on the scheme before it launched, said extra costs and regulations are forcing bed and breakfasts and homes rented out on platforms such as Airbnb to shut their doors across the north-east.
He said: “These figures show more and more tourism businesses across Aberdeen and the wider north-east are giving up due to the bureaucratic obstacles which are being enforced upon them.
“It’s clear that the SNP Government’s reckless lets scheme is already having a significant impact on self-catering businesses, as well as Airbnb and similar short-term let providers.
“Operators that haven’t already withdrawn are facing unacceptable waits from cash-strapped councils which have clearly been left ill-equipped to process applications.
“Now is not the time to regulate short-term lets and enact a licensing scheme that is already placing an unnecessary burden on the struggling tourism industry.
“The Scottish Government must look at these figures and listen to the concerns raised by the tourism and self-catering sectors rather than continuing to hammer them at a time when they need support.”