Self-catering properties - 70 days actual letting requirement

As you may be aware, in December 2017 the Scottish Government accepted a recommendation of the independent Barclay Review of Business Rates, that ‘to counter a known avoidance tactic for second homes, owners or occupiers of self-catering properties must prove an intention to let for 140 days in the year and evidence of actual letting for 70 days.’

The review had identified that some property owners, to avoid payment of Council Tax on second homes, claim that the property has moved from domestic use (liable for council tax) to non-domestic use as a self-catering property (liable for non-domestic rates). Although the gross liability is generally higher for non-domestic rates than it is for Council Tax, the majority of self-catering premises registered as non-domestic receive 100% Small Business Bonus Scheme relief.

Recognising the impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government chose last year to delay the implementation of the requirement that self-catering properties be let for 70 days.

On 22 December the Scottish Government laid legislation - The Council Tax (Dwellings and Part Residential Subjects) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 - for 2022-23 to deliver the requirement of 70 days of actual letting for self-catering premises. View the regulations.

The instrument creates a requirement that, to be classed as self-catering holiday accommodation, premises must actually be let for a period of at least 70 days in the financial year. The existing requirement, of an intention by a relevant person to make the premises available for letting for 140 days or more, will also need to be met. However, the 70 days of actual letting will be counted towards the 140 day period.