Short Term Lets - Frequently Asked Questions

The following webpage provides guidance to assist you in making your application but you may also wish to seek your own legal advice as the examples below are based on specific questions received by the Council. The information is intended to support the other reference documents provided by the Scottish Government, Visit Scotland and through the Councils short-term let licensing webpage

My property is a guest house with class 7 planning consent. Does this mean I am exempt from the STL licensing regime?

No.  Guesthouses and bed and breakfast properties are not exempt from the STL licensing scheme

I am an existing operator. Do I need to apply for a licence immediately?

Existing operators should now apply for a licence as soon as practicable and not wait until the deadline before submitting their applications.  Existing hosts will only be able to continue operating after the deadline if their licence application has been received prior to 1 October 2023  and their application is being determined.  You are advised it may take some time to gather the appropriate information required in support of your application, an application will not become valid until all certifications and evidence are provided.

What proof of owner’s consent do I need?

An application for a Short Term Let licence does not have to be made by the owner of the premises. You must have the consent of the owner (or each owner) and your application will be refused if this is not provided. You must provide a declaration from the owner, or each owner, that they consent to the application, or a declaration from a person who is authorised to act on behalf of all the owners.

Which food safety /hygiene certificates must I hold to be compliant with the short term lets licence?

If you provide any meals, home baking etc. you are required to be registered with Argyll and Bute Council as a registered food business. Further information is available here.

My question was about properties that are off grid - they have solar panels and a 12 volts power system but they do not have any 240 mains electricity. There will be a few of these and the council will have to know how to deal with them. To my knowledge there is not an industry body out there or system of certification for such set ups. I was told in the previous response that I would need to get 'certification'. The point of my question is that there currently is no certification for such systems. Electricians who deal with normal 240 volt systems will not certify 12 volts systems. 

Part P of the building regulations 2010 (2214) is the legal instrument for electrical installations in the UK and specifically states 'intended to operate at low or extra-low voltage' and the definition of 'extra-low voltage' is less than 120V DC (or less than 50V AC). This then covers any battery build, even if it is 12V DC if it contains any fixed wiring. Low voltage is less than 1500V DC. Part P, clearly states 'reasonable provisions shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installation from fire or injury'. i.e. reasonable provisions to protect people in a house using the electrical parts.

The second section of Part P then covers :

(a) 'in or attached to a dwelling' - i.e. solar panels fixed to the roof or your inverter fixed to the wall connected to fixed 240V wiring.

(d) 'in a garden or in or on land associated with a building where the electricity is from a source located within or shared with a dwelling' - this is more interesting regarding the source 'shared with' because this would then cover a grid inverter (solar or battery) and an inverter in the shed sharing the electrical wiring.

It is the responsibility of the licence applicant to provide appropriate certification to confirm that this safety standard has been met. Usually this can be provided by the installer of the system or a suitably accredited electrician

Will there be a licence exemption for any of the busy periods in Dunoon, such as the Cowal Gathering when there is a shortage of accommodation for visitors too and competitors in the games?

The Councils licensing scheme provides for temporary exemptions to cover for circumstances where short-term accommodation is required to accommodate large numbers of visitors for a short period to support events including  sporting competitions.  The Council may, on application made to it, grant temporary exemptions from the requirement to hold a short-term let licence in relation to a specified property or properties and during a specified period, which must not exceed 6 weeks in any 12 month period. An application is required for a temporary exemption and The Chief Constable and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be consulted in respect of such applications

How long from applying for the licence to receiving the licence would take?

The timescale for determining an application will vary and will be dependent on the specific property and any issues arising from the licensing process (e.g. representations, objections, providing appropriate evidence, licensing committees as appropriate etc.). Local authorities have 9 months from the date of application (12 for existing hosts) to determine applications and this allows for a period of statutory consultant with police and fire authority. In straightforward applications, a more reasonable time may be 3-4 months.

Templates for the fire risk and legionnaires assessments.

These are available through our website:

Fire Safety Checklist

Legionella and landlords’ responsibilities

I have part of my health and safety policy that deals with legionnaire’s disease, is this good enough for the terms of this short term let?

This can be assessed at the time of your application but you require to demonstrate the arrangements you have in place for minimising the risks of legionella from your hot and cold water system.

Is there a Public Notice of Application  and Certificate of Compliance template that I can post for the 21 days, on your website, I have looked but can’t find it. Where does this have to be posted for 21 days?

The certificate is available on our website and in Scottish Government Guidance for hosts.

Public Notice 

Certificate of Compliance

Government Guidance 

I have an EPC which places the property in Band G. Can you advise if there is a statutory requirement for the EPC rating or if this is sufficient

  1. The premises must hold a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) dated within the last 10 years. An energy assessor, who is a member of an accredited protocol body, needs to carry this out. You have to display the EPC rating within all advertisements in commercial media.
    Not all short-term lets need an EPC (e.g. guest houses, B&B), but individual holiday homes rented out in their entirety do (i.e. self-catering).
  2. The statutory requirement is to have a valid EPC and there is no stipulation of what level it must be.

 (See Scottish Govt guidance Energy Performance Certificates for Holiday Lets: guidance

I am the owner of licensed B&B with a premises licence under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.  My understanding is that because of this I am exempt from the short-term letting licence.

There is an exemption from the short-term let licensing scheme where the accommodation is already licensed specially to offer accommodation. This includes licences under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 where the provision of accommodation is an activity listed in the operating plan or licensed caravan sites. However if you have a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence, a short-term licence will still be required if is to be used for short term lets. Therefore based on the information provided, you do not require a STL licence

What funding is available to help pay for the Short Term licence, certification costs and improvements? Is there any compensation for businesses who find it necessary to close down as a result of the licensing scheme in deprived rural areas of Argyll and Bute where tourism is the only income?

There is no funding available via the licensing scheme to support the costs of making the application or complying with licensing conditions. Further information for hosts is available via the VisitScotland website; Short Term Lets Legislation Changes in Scotland – VisitScotland. You may also wish to make enquiries with the Council's business gateway team to enquire what support may be available. (Business Gateway Service)

As a small B&B what type of licence am I applying for from the 4 options shown? I am not sure.

You will require to apply for a short-term let licence and as a B&B, this is likely to be home sharing option (unless you do not reside on the property)

The application form does not ask for floor plan, site plan or fire risk assessment although the pre application guidance mentions these particular pieces of evidence.
Do you require them to be included in the submitted evidence at the end of the application?

Documents including the floor plan, site plan and the completed fire safety checklist should be submitted as part of your application. These should be attached as documents to your e-application, but can be emailed to us later.

In the meantime do we go ahead with the public notice 21 day period or do we wait till we submit our application in January?

Your public notice should be displayed for 21 days from the date your licence application was submitted to the Council. Further information on the public notice requirements is detailed in section 4C of the Scottish Government Guidance for hosts. 

My property is an 'off grid' cabin or caravan Do I require a licence?

I note that your property is off grid but individual caravans, yurt and other accommodation requires to be licensed under the SLT licensing regime and is not specified in the exemptions. If you are an existing host you can continue to operate but you will need to apply for a licence by the 1 October 2023.

Is an EPC required for the licence?

The requirement for an EPC certificate is required for short-term let accommodation, with the exception of caravan holiday homes, bed and breakfast/guest house accommodation and certain holiday parks (See Scottish Govt guidance Energy Performance Certificates for Holiday Lets: guidance

The property is not connected to mains electricity, but powered by solar panels. Is an EICR still required?

This matter is being investigated further, However, the scheme requires hosts to provide certification that the electricity powers system are safe and this should be discussed with your installer, prior to submitting your application.

I’m on a Private Water Supply, what do I need to provide?

If your property is on a private water supply(PWS) then we will ask for the PWS registration number. All properties on a private supply need to be register along with some details such as their use type. If you don’t know your registration number a form for registration is available here Private Water Supplies | Argyll and Bute Council ( . Providing details of those properties that share your supply’s abstraction point (where applicable) means we can accurately identify the correct supply number.

Do I need to have my supply sampled before making an application?

You will not be required to submit sample results with your application, but you will be required to show the property is registered along with any treatment that maybe fitted. The property will be required to be included in our statutory sampling programme and have a risk assessment carried out when it is due in our programme. Grant assistance may also be available to carry out any necessary improvements, eligibility and other useful information to assist with managing and maintaining private supplies  is available on our website

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