Housing chiefs are planning a new law to close a loophole allowing landlords to exploit tenants by offering them holiday lets instead of standard private rentals in Scotland.
Some rogue landlords offer tenants 10-month rentals in holiday homes to bypass strict licensing controls designed to safeguard minimum housing standards.
The Scottish government wants to take back the initiative with new laws that stop landlords renting holiday lets as main homes. And a detailed consultation document asks tenants and landlords what powers the government should legislate to beat the rogue landlords.
“Short-term lets have become the subject of much controversy in some parts of Scotland and evoke strong opinions. We made a commitment to ensure that local authorities have appropriate regulatory powers to balance the needs and concerns of their communities with wider economic and tourism interests.,” says the consultation.
“The Scottish Government welcomes the economic benefits which the development of new models of short-term letting brings to Scotland. However, we also recognise the problems caused by short-term lets.”
The consultation blames online platforms, such as AirBnB, HomeAway and HouseTrip for the problem.
“These new collaborative accommodation platforms are part of a wave of disruptive technologies, which often operate in a significantly different way from previous businesses. This means that current management and regulatory systems may not be appropriate or applicable. In addition, these disruptive technologies may generate new issues which will need to be addressed, including where the way in which they operate impacts in new ways on existing issues,” says the consultation.
“A particular concern for public policy is that these issues may not have a direct consequence for the businesses themselves, but rather impact disproportionately on others, including the communities where these businesses operate and on the wider area.”