More than 100 businesses that have failed to sign up to Scotland’s new letting agent register are risking fines and jail.
Trading as an unregistered letting agent is a criminal offence in Scotland, attracting fines of up to £50,000 and six months in jail.
The Scottish Government has revealed 114 individuals and businesses are under investigation for trading as unregistered agents. Compliance letters have been sent to 86 unregistered agents.
So far, 562 applications to join the register have been successfully processed out of a pipeline of 914 applications.
Under the rules, letting agents must be registered to trade in Scotland.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government argues that some short term lets for holiday homes are exploiting laws aimed at improving standards.
Holiday lets are exempt from licensing and agents can trade without registering or qualification.
The government has launched a consultation designed to shape new laws to govern the sector.
Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said: “For many people, accommodation provider Airbnb has enabled cheaper, more flexible travel. It’s one of the reasons Scotland’s tourism industry is booming.
“But for others – particularly in tourist hot spots, like the centre of this city – it is making it harder to find homes to live in. So today, we are setting out new plans to help cities like Edinburgh and islands like Arran, get the balance right.
“We are asking for views on a new system of regulation to make short term lets subject to the same controls as any other accommodation.
“We want to give councils the power to control the number of lets and ensure they make a contribution to the services they use.”