SNP MSP Emma Roddick has received a commitment from the Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Shona Robison, to revisit the issue of tackling the increasing numbers of short-term lets next year. This move follows the removal of a power for local authorities to refuse new licensing due to overprovision from the Scottish Government’s new Short-term Lets Licensing Order.
Roddick has been fighting for what she calls the “devastating” effect of high numbers of conversions to short-term lets in specific areas in the Highlands to be addressed since her election in May 2021, arguing that the financial gain of business owners is being prioritised over those struggling to find a home in the communities they grew up in.
“It is clear that, in many places across the Highlands and Islands, the number of properties being removed from the housing market to provide short-term accommodation is continuing to climb steadily, raising prices and reducing availability of homes.
“Lack of affordable and suitable housing is a key driver in depopulation, especially in rural areas, where we are seeing hundreds of properties converted to holiday homes due to landlords capitalising on the number of tourists visiting the North Coast 500 and other hotspots.
“The new Licensing Order does not allow councils to refuse new licenses due to overprovision in an area, but it will allow more accurate reporting of the number of short-term lets.
“It is great to receive a commitment from the Scottish Government to review this data in a year’s time and to reconsider the position on overprovision. I have no doubt this issue will still be affecting my constituents and will continue to push for action to tackle it.”