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Fife holiday home owner’s 11th hour plea to ditch ‘scary and draconian’ licensing laws

Moira Henderson outside The Ring, a fully-accessible holiday let. Picture Steve Brown / DCT Media.
Moira Henderson outside The Ring, a fully-accessible holiday let. Picture Steve Brown / DCT Media.

A Fife holiday homes owner has issued a last-ditch plea to MSPs, urging them not to bring in new licensing laws for short-term lets.

Moira Henderson fears the controversial legislation will decimate the tourism industry across Scotland.

And she fears her own business in north-east Fife will be “up the creek” if her call falls on deaf ears.

Moira Henderons is worried about the prospect of licensing short-term lets. Steve Brown / DCT Media

Moira is chairwoman of Fife Tourism Partnership and owner of The Ring, a purpose-built holiday home for wheelchair users near Chance Inn.

She also has six holiday cabins for people with specific needs.

However, moves to charge owners £1,500 for licences to run their properties would be a huge burden, she said.

And neighbours would have the chance to object to applications, meaning livelihoods could be under threat if permission is denied.

As MSPs prepare to vote on the issue this afternoon, Moira described the proposed legislation as “scary and draconian”.

And she added: “It’s been brought about by people with no understanding of tourism whatsoever.”

Licensing of short-term lets ‘absolutely outrageous’

Ministers proposed new licensing laws in a bid to tackle the growth of short-term lets on platforms such as Airbnb.

The move followed a huge rise in the number of holiday properties in popular tourist areas like Edinburgh.

And some MSPs say increased regulation would help tackle spiralling rent and claims of disruption.

If approved, the owners of short-term lets would need to get licences from local councils by 2024.

But Moira says these problems don’t apply to rural areas such as north east Fife.

“It’s absolutely outrageous,” she said.

I can’t emphasise enough how detrimental it will be.”

Moira Henderson, chairwoman of Fife Tourism Partnership.

“My neighbours could object to me getting a licence and I could lose my holiday business.

“If you have someone who only lets out one room in their house they have to pay £1,500.

“We don’t know if it’s £1,500 per property or per business.

“I have seven properties so do I pay £1,500 or £10,500?”

And she added: “It’s not just my business.

“I use a laundry in Cupar to do all my laundry and it will affect them.

“I employ people who would find it difficult to get employment elsewhere. It will affect these people.

“And it will affect all my suppliers.

“I strongly urge MSPs to vote against this legislation. I can’t emphasise enough how detrimental it will be.”

‘Nobody wins here’: Fife holiday providers fear many will give up due to new licensing laws

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