Short term lets judicial review

Outcomes from the review

The Scottish Parliament approved the short term lets legislation on 19 January 2022.  We were required to establish a short term lets licensing scheme by 1 October 2022. 

July 2023 update following Judicial Review of Short-term lets licensing policy

Following a Judicial Review of the Council’s Short-Term Let (STL) Licensing Policy, the Council received the Opinion of the Court on 8 June 2023. There was a further court hearing on 22 June 2023 to decide on the terms of the Court’s Order which gave effect to the Court’s decision on the outcome of the JR. The period in which either party involved in the Judicial Review could lodge an appeal against the Court’s decision ended on 13 July 2023. We can confirm that no appeal was lodged by either party in the proceedings.

In order to reflect the terms of the Court’s decision, the Council has updated its STL Licensing Policy which was previously agreed by the Council’s Regulatory Committee on 29 September 2022.The Court’s decision did not find the Council’s STL licensing scheme to be unlawful. It only affected certain parts of the STL policy which have now been updated.

This is a summary of the changes to the policy and how they may affect you. The updates to the policy, noted below, take effect from 13 July 2023. Download our current Short Term Lets Policy 

Tenement/Shared Main Door Accommodation

The Council’s STL licensing policy previously set out that there was a rebuttable presumption against the grant of STL licences for secondary letting in tenemental/shared main door accommodation. As a result, applicants in those circumstances would have been required to provide information to the Council as to why their applications should be an exception to policy.

As a result of the Court’s decision, the rebuttable presumption against the grant of STL licences for secondary letting in tenemental / shared main door accommodation has been removed from the STL policy and will no longer apply. Such applications, including those already lodged with the Council, will be considered in line with this update. Applicants will not be required to provide any additional information to demonstrate why they should be an exception to policy.

Temporary licences for secondary letting

The STL licensing policy also previously set out that there would be a rebuttable presumption against temporary licences being granted in respect of secondary letting accommodation, similar to the circumstances set out above. In order to reflect the Court’s decision i, the rebuttable presumption against the grant of temporary licences for secondary let accommodation has also been removed from the policy. Operators can now apply for temporary licences in such circumstances. Any such application will be considered against the updated policy and the terms of the legislation.

Licence Condition STL9

The final update to the STL licensing policy is in relation to an additional licence condition which was previously applicable to all secondary letting STL licences (STL9) and stated:

“STL9 - For secondary lets only, the licence holder must ensure that the bedrooms living room and hallway in the premises are covered by a suitable floor covering such as a carpet or similar floor covering.”

Following the outcome of the Judicial Review, this additional licence condition has been removed from the policy and will not be applied to all STL licences which are granted by the Council. Where a condition regarding carpets or similar floor covering is considered by the Council to be necessary this will be determined on a case by case basis.

Key points for STL hosts and operators to note

  • The requirement to obtain the relevant STL licence is unaffected by the Court’s judgement and the Council’s STL licensing scheme remains fully operational.
  • The Council is required to operate a licensing system and has no discretion to exempt in particular anyone home letting or home sharing from the need to obtain a licence.
  • There are no changes to the policy in relation to Home letting, Home sharing or temporary exemptions as a result of the Judicial Review.
  • Existing hosts and operators have until 1 October 2023 to apply for a licence in order to continue operating whilst their application is being considered. You are an existing host or operator if you have already been using your property to provide short term lets prior to 1 October 2022.
  • If you were not using your premises to provide short term lets before 1 October 2022, you cannot take bookings or receive guests until you have a licence.

If you have any questions in relation to the changes, you can contact the licensing team on 0131 529 4208 or by email at