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

Moira fears short-term lets licensing will force many out of business.  Picture Steve Brown / DCT Media
Moira fears short-term lets licensing will force many out of business. Picture Steve Brown / DCT Media

Fife holiday home owners have expressed dismay after MSPs rejected pleas to ditch new licensing laws for short-term lets.

Moira Henderson and Daryl Wilson fear many accommodation providers could be forced to close if the scheme proves too costly to manage.

And Moira said that could impact holidaymakers looking for staycations in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Moira Henderson is chairwoman of Fife Tourism Partnership
Moira Henderson is chairwoman of Fife Tourism Partnership. Picture Steve Brown / DCT Media.

She has accused parliament of disregarding the views of the tourism sector.

And she said: “Why would any country impose this on one of their major industries when we’re still reeling from Covid?”

Daryl added: “Nobody wins here – not the economy, not local people and not holidaymakers.”

MSPs voted to better regulate the sector following concerns over the impact of Airbnb-type properties on communities.

In Edinburgh in particular, people have complained about noise, anti-social behaviour and the removal of properties from the housing market.

It means landlords in Scotland will now be required to have licences for short-term property lets.

Under the new law, local councils will have until October 2022 to set up a licensing scheme.

And existing operators must apply for a licence by April 2023.

Local authorities will set fees to cover the cost of administering the scheme.

Half of self-catering providers ‘will just give up’

And it is the uncertainty around costs that is worrying Moira and Daryl.

“People who have been running responsible businesses for donkeys years will now have to suffer because of what was happening in Edinburgh,” said Moira, who runs The Rings near Chance Inn.

“The industry did a survey and approximately 50% of self-catering providers said they would just give up if this came in.

“Even if only half of those do, then it’s still a lot.

“We’re already struggling at peak times to cover the market because of the increase in staycations.”

Daryl Wilson is concerned about the impact of short-term lets licensing laws.
Daryl Wilson. Picture Steve Brown/DCT Media.

She added: “Parliament has totally ignored all – and I mean all – advice from the industry.

“And it’s not just a big issue for hospitality, it’s a big issue for folk who are going to be looking for accommodation.”

Daryl, who runs three properties in the East Neuk, fears her business is on the line.

The licensing scheme comes on the back of moves to implement control areas for short-term lets across Fife.

And Daryl said: “The people implementing this have no clue of the issues.

“Many people will just stop doing it because it’s too onerous.”

Short-term lets licensing ‘a significant milestone’

However, housing secretary Shona Robison said the legislation would help ensure short-term lets were safe.

And she added local communities would find it easier to take action if they were impacted by holiday properties.

MSPs backed the introduction of regulation by 87 votes to 33.

And Ms Robison hailed the move as “a significant milestone”.

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