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Short Term Let Licence failings could create 'additional significant demand' say Police Scotland

By Rachel Smart

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Those without a license could face criminal charges.
Those without a license could face criminal charges.

It is estimated that between 2000 to 4000 short-term lets in the Highlands are still to apply for a controversial licence.

A Short Term Let Licence was required to be applied for before October 1 by all those providing short-stay accommodation throughout Scotland. Those who do not have one could face criminal charges, with fines up to £2500.

Highland Council had estimated that there could be between 8000 to 10,000 short-term let properties in its catchment area. However, in exclusive figures given to the Inverness Courier by the council only 6207 applications for a licence had been received by September 28.

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “Based on the information we had available to us at the time of setting up the licensing scheme, we estimated that there could be between 8,000 and 10,000 STL properties in The Highland Council area. For unlicensed properties, it is a criminal offence and enforcement is ultimately a Police matter.”

However, the director of The Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers (ASSC) - who have been fierce opponents of the licence - has said that 'Police Scotland has more important issues to address' than seeking out those who have failed to apply for a licence.

Clare Winskill, director of ASSC said: “Wilfully shrinking the economy and then taxing businesses more is the absolute height of arrogance and stupidity. And in rural areas - a death knell to businesses, not just small accommodation operators but all those whose businesses are supported by their visitor spend.

“No progressive, modern democracy would criminalise hard-working, law-abiding citizens in their own country in this way. What is certain is that Police Scotland has more important issues to address than a B&B owner having failed to apply for a licence.”

Police Scotland has also said that the licensing scheme will create additional demand to the force.

Assistant Chief Constable Faroque Hussain said: “The Short Term Lets licensing scheme creates significant additional demand for Police Scotland. We are working with local authority partners to explore options around how we meet this requirement at a time when hard choices must be made to maintain effective policing within the funding available.”

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