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Short-term let licence

On 1 October 2022 legislation approved by the Scottish Parliament started. The law applies throughout Scotland. Councils must ensure the law is implemented. The law applies to accommodation used as a short-term let (STL). This covers houses, flats, or rented rooms.

The owner of the STL accommodation is called the host.
The host needs a licence from the council unless one of the exemptions in the legislation applies, see STL exemptions.

The usual rule is that a person can only use a house, a flat or a room for holidays or other 'short-term lets' if both the:

  • person has applied for a Licence 
  • Council has issued it

There is a special rule for "existing hosts" - hosts who have been running the particular accommodation as a short-term let since before 1 October 2022. They are allowed to operate without a Licence.

But the special rule stops on Saturday 30 September 2023 unless the existing hosts have applied to the Council for a Licence.

  • If they beat the deadline they can continue operating – still without a Licence - until the Council issue their Licence (which could take months) but
  • If they miss the deadline they can still apply - but the special rule no longer applies

Am I an 'existing host' or a 'new host'?

The deadline applies to hosts ("existing hosts") who have been running the particular accommodation as a short-term let since before 1 October 2022. If you only got the particular accommodation by sale or inheritance after 1 October 2022, the rule about "new hosts" applies instead (see below) even if:

  •  you have been operating other accommodation for years and qualify as an "existing host" there, or
  • the previous owner would have qualified as an "existing host" for the particular accommodation

What is the rule about new hosts?

The deadline does not apply to New Hosts – they can't begin trading until the Council has issued their licence – it's not enough for them to apply.

What can happen after the deadline?


  • an existing host operates a short-term let without applying for a Licence no later than Saturday 30 September 2023, or 
  • a new host operates a short-term let without a Licence 

then the Police can prosecute for a criminal offence. The penalty on conviction could be a fine of up to £2,500.

Hosts who operate without a Licence should check their insurance policies as they might not be covered.

Does the North Ayrshire 'Existing Hosts Confirmation Scheme' (EHCS) change this?

No. Confirmations issued under the EHCS are not 'licences' and the requests for them are not 'licence applications'. Hosts still need to apply for Licences no later than Saturday 30 September 2023 if they want the special rule to continue.

The Council policy

The Licensing Committee carried out public consultation on a draft 'Licensing Policy Statement'. The Committee met on 26 September 2022, to consider the comments.

The short-term let policy (PDF, 526kb) includes a summary of the rules, including the exemptions.

What is a STL?

There are 3 kinds of STL: 

  • Secondary Letting (accommodation which is not the host’s home)
  • Home Sharing (accommodation which is the host’s home, eg, a bed-and-breakfast)
  • Home Letting (accommodation which is the host’s home)

You will need a Licence covering one of these. You can get a licence covering both Home Sharing and Home Letting).

Two or more houses used as STLs. Do I need a licence for each one?

Yes. The STL legislation is different to the Landlord Registration Scheme and means you need one Licence per separate dwelling. Accommodation that is on a single premises requires only one Short-Term Let Licence.

What are the exemptions which mean I don't need a licence?

See parts 12 to 16 of our short-term let policy (PDF, 526kb).

What you'll need to apply

Our short-term let policy (PDF, 526kb) contains:

  • Part 7 - How the Council deal with Licence applications
  • Part 18 - Before you apply for a Licence
  • Annex K - What documents do I need?
  • Annex L - What documents do I have to give Guests?

Apply for a STL Licence

Before you begin, please read our Short Term Let Licensing Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 648kb).

Please use the Short-Term Let Licence Application Form (Word, 86kb).

If applying for the grant, or renewal, of a Licence you must complete and provide us with a Fire Safety Checklist and prepare a 'Fire Safety Risk Assessment' – see our Fire Safety information

If you apply, you will need to display a Short-Term Let Licensing Site Notice (Word, 36kb) at or near the accommodation for 21 days. After the 21 days you will have to give us a Short-Term Let Licensing Site Notice Display Certificate (Word, 35kb).

You will also need a Legionella Assessment. In the FAQ document, see the text about Mandatory Condition 9 ("MC 9") to see why you need this. The following form can be used:

Fire safety

When a person applies for a STL Licence, one of the bodies we have to send the application to is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have prepared this checklist:

You will also need to do a Fire Safety Risk Assessment. You can do both the checklist and the risk assessment yourself and you don't need to ask SFRS to visit your property.

The Licensing Office:

  • do need to see the checklist, but
  • don't need to see the risk assessment

We'll give the checklist to SFRS. You should keep the risk assessment because SFRS might ask to see it.

There are forms and guidance about Fire Safety Risk Assessments on the Scottish Government website, on the page there is a guidance document called 'Carrying out and recording a fire safety risk assessment' and blank forms. There are 2 forms, for 'smaller' and 'larger' premises. The guidance document should help you decide which to use. The Scottish Government website has examples of completed forms for; a house in multiple occupation, and a small hotel.

Privacy Notice

The Short-Term Let Licensing Privacy Notice sets out how we will use the personal information you provide when you apply for a Short-Term Let License or make an objection to an application.