Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has reacted to a Highland Council debate on a motion opposing short-term let regulation which was led by a short-term let owner, describing it as “shameful at best”.
The motion at Thursday’s council meeting sought to back proposals from the Association of Scottish Self-Caterers (ASSC) to limit regulation of holiday homes in Scotland and passed following a vote by councillors.
The ASSC oppose the Scottish Government’s proposed new short-term let licensing scheme which aims to tackle as-yet-uncontrolled growth of these types of properties and their impact on homelessness, depopulation, and currently extortionate house prices.
“It is deeply uncomfortable to me to witness a debate on short-term lets licensing in the Highland Council led by councillors with financial interests through short-term let ownership. This is shameful at best and potentially corrupt.
“The protectionist ASSC proposals would allow anyone with a website to be exempt from licensing – meaning anyone with access to the internet can be exempt through the ten-minute creation of a free website.
“Sky-rocketing house prices and numbers of short-term lets go hand-in-hand in the Highlands, and getting on top of this is crucial to tackling depopulation.
“It is outrageous that landlord councillors with a clear financial interest have voted to protect their own bank accounts from a small license fee rather than pursue the interests of their constituents – hundreds of whom are currently homeless or struggling to find an affordable place to live.”