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Accommodation needing a short-term let licence

All short-term let accommodation in Scotland needs a licence. This is unless it's one of the excluded types of accommodation. 

Your accommodation is likely to need a short-term let licence unless your guest:

  • lives in the accommodation as their main home 
  • is a member of your immediate family
  • uses the accommodation to carry out work or services for you
  • shares the accommodation as part of an educational arrangement

Types of accommodation that need a licence

The short-term let licensing scheme covers residential and commercial accommodation in Scotland, including:

  • B&B and guesthouse
  • boat (fixed and not used as transport)
  • boathouse
  • cabin
  • castle
  • chalet
  • cottage
  • exclusive use venue where accommodation is provided (that does not have a licence to sell alcohol)
  • farmhouse
  • holiday caravan or glamping pod that does not already have a caravan site licence
  • lighthouse
  • lodge
  • self-catering or holiday let
  • serviced apartment, either on its own, or up to 4 in a building that's a flat or residential unit where: 
    • hosts provide services to guests (such as housekeeping, phone desk, reception, or laundry) 
    • each flat or unit contains its own washing, cooking and dining facilities separate from each of the other flats or units 
    • there's a management system to prevent anti-social behaviour and imposes limits to the maximum occupancy of the flats or units  
  • shared home or rooms within a home
  • shepherd hut
  • tent, tipi or wigwam
  • treehouse
  • yurt

Excluded accommodation 

You do not need a licence for:

  • aparthotels, meaning a building that: 

    • is entirely owned by the same person 

    • has at least 5 serviced apartments, managed and operated as a single business 

    • has a shared entrance for the serviced apartments 

    • has serviced apartments that do not share an entrance with any other flat or residential unit in the building 

  • bothy – a building of no more than 2 storeys that has: 

    • no mains electricity, piped fuel supply or piped mains water supply 

    • is at least 100 metres from the nearest public road and from the nearest habitable building 

  • holiday caravan or glamping pod sited within a park with a caravan site licence (Caravan sites and Control of Development Act 1960) 

  • hotels, B&B or guest house with a premises licenced under Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 

  • self-catering accommodation within the grounds of a licenced premises or hotel (Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005). The accommodation needs to be specifically mentioned as part of the operating plan 

You do not need a licence for private residential and social housing tenancies.  

If you offer short-term lets within your House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), you need a short-term let licence in addition to your HMO licence.  

If you’re unsure if your accommodation needs a licence or not, you should get legal advice.

Use this tool to check if you need a licence and how to apply

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