Short Term Lets

The Scottish Government introduced new legislation in 2021 allowing Local Authorities to create Control Areas to help manage Short Term Letting in their areas. Short Term Lets are properties, either whole houses/flats, or a single room, that are available to rent for short periods of time. Typically, they provide accommodation for tourists or temporary workers.  Short Term Lets are separate to private rental tenancies which are regulated through the The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. 

The Town and Country Planning (Short-term Let Control Areas) (Scotland) Act 2021 makes provision for planning authorities in Scotland to designate all or parts of their area as a Short Term Let Control Area. Within a Control Area, an application for planning permission would be required for a new Short Term Let. If approved, the property would then be able to operate as a Short Term Let, in compliance with any conditions on the planning permission. Short Term Lets, both existing and new, are also required to apply for a license to operate. Existing hosts and operators will now have until the 30th September 2023 to apply for a license, with all Short Term Let properties being required to have a license by July 2024. An East Lothian specific Licensing Scheme is currently being drawn up, which must be in place before the 1 October 2022.  This page provides details on the planning aspects of Short Term Lets. For more information on licensing, please visit the Licensing of Short Term Lets page.

Why would a Control Area be required?     

Control Areas for Short Term Lets can be used for the following purposes: 

  • to help manage high concentrations of secondary letting (where it affects the availability of residential housing or the character of a neighbourhood);
  • to restrict or prevent short-term lets in places or types of building where it is not appropriate; or
  • to help local authorities ensure that homes are used to best effect in their areas.

Public Consultation results and analysis

Between February and April 2022, we carried out an 8-week period of public consultation to gather views and opinions on the Short Term Letting sector in East Lothian, and whether there is a need for a Control Area or not. All responses received are being considered in detail and will be used to help to inform future decisions on the need to introduce Control Areas within East Lothian. A detailed report on findings from the consultation and recommendations for next steps is expected to be considered at a meeting of East Lothian Council during autumn/winter 2023.