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Legal requirements for a short-term let licence

The law says short-term let accommodation must meet certain conditions to get a licence. These are to ensure the safety of the accommodation.

These are also known as ‘mandatory conditions’. 

Mandatory conditions

Here's a summary of what the mandatory conditions are and where you can get more information about them.

The Repairing Standard

The accommodation must meet the Repairing Standard for houses and flats. This also includes the Tolerable Standard. 

Read more about the Repairing Standard on

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

The accommodation must hold a valid EPC dated within the last 10 years (where it applies). This must be carried out by an energy assessor.

Not all short-term lets need an EPC. But individual homes rented out in full do need one. For example, self-catering holiday homes. You need to display the EPC rating in all adverts where this applies.

Read more about EPCs for holiday lets on

Fire safety

The conditions on fire safety include:

  • fire warning (heat, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms)
  • records (labels, receipts or photographs) showing furnishings guests have access to meet the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988

Read practical guidance for fire safety (properties with sleeping accommodation) on

Download the Tolerable Standard guidance: satisfactory fire and carbon monoxide detection on

Gas supply

The accommodation must have a Gas Safety Certificate dated in the last 12 months. This applies to accommodation with a gas supply. 

This shows a gas safe registered engineer has carried out a safety check on all gas appliances.

Read more about getting a Gas Safety Certificate - on the Gas Safe Register website.

Electrical Installation Condition report

You must arrange for a qualified person to carry out an electrical safety check at least every 5 years. This usually means the qualified person is registered with either: 

  • a member firm of the Electrical Contractors' Association of Scotland
  • a member of the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers 

Download the Landlord's guide to electrical safety (PDF) on the Electrical Safety First website.

Portable Appliance Testing Report 

You must arrange for a qualified person to produce a Portable Appliance Testing Report on moveable appliances your guests have access to. For example a TV or an alarm clock.  This usually means the qualified person is registered with either: 

  • a member firm of the Electrical Contractors' Association of Scotland
  • a member of the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers 

Read guidance for electric installations and appliances on

Private water supply

If the accommodation has a private water supply the law says you must meet certain conditions.

This does not apply to accommodation with a mains water supply.

Read private water supply guidance on the Drinking Water Quality Regulator website.

Legionella risk assessment 

You must assess the accommodation's risk from exposure to Legionella. This is needed whether or not it has a private water supply. 

Read more about landlords' responsibilities for Legionella on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Buildings insurance

The accommodation must have buildings insurance. This must be valid for the duration of the licence. 

Public liability insurance

As a business, you must have public liability insurance. This must be valid for the duration of each short-term let agreement.

You should check the level of cover you need with the local council.

Maximum number of guests in the accommodation 

The licence holder must make sure the number of guests staying in the accommodation is not more than the number stated on the licence.

Information you must display

The licence holder must display this information in a place accessible to guests:

  • certified copy of the licence and licence conditions
  • fire, gas and electrical safety information
  • details on how to contact emergency services
  • copy of gas safety report
  • copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report
  • copy of the Portable Appliance Testing Report

Other requirements

Under the fire safety law, someone who is in charge of the accommodation must carry out a fire risk assessment.

This is to spot risks and to ensure the safety of the people in the accommodation.

Reasonable fire safety measures include:

  • reducing risk, for example installing doors that can hold back smoke or fire
  • installing smoke alarms in line with the law
  • providing fire-fighting equipment, like a fire blanket
  • preparing a plan of action that a guest should take if a fire starts

Read guidance around fire safety for small B&Bs and self-catering premises on

Local council conditions

Local councils can also set extra conditions. The local council should list any extra conditions on their website.

Local councils and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will decide the most people the accommodation can have in it. 

To decide this, they may ask you to submit floor plans for the accommodation as part of your application for a licence.

Floor plans

Your floor plans for the accommodation may need to show:

  • room sizes
  • fire escape routes 
  • accommodation intended for guests with mobility issues

You may also have to show: 

  • location of any steps, stairs, elevators or lifts in the accommodation
  • boundary of the building (if relevant)

The council may also ask to visit the accommodation to do an assessment. This could be instead of, or as well as, asking for floor plans.

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