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Fears council staff unable to cope with demand of holiday let licences in Perth and Kinross

Perth and Kinross Council headquarters on High Street, Perth.
Perth and Kinross Council headquarters on High Street, Perth.

It is feared staff at Perth and Kinross Council will not be able to cope with the number of license applications for short-term holiday lets following a change in the law.

New legislation means landlords must apply for licences to run tourist accommodation in residential properties, such as Air BnBs.

With high demand for holiday lets in Perth and Kinross, it is feared council officers will be unable to keep up with licence applications.

Councillors on the licensing committee discussed the Licensing of Short-term Lets Order 2022, which came into force in March, on Wednesday.

What has changed?

Councils have until October 1 to establish a licensing scheme and existing hosts will have until April next year to apply for a licence.

The new law means that anyone operating a short-term let has to apply for a licence and failure to do so will result in a punishment, such as a fine.

It defines a short-term let as “the use of residential accommodation provided by a
host in the course of business to a guest where there is a charge made”.

Councillor Chris Ahern.
Councillor Chris Ahern.

But city centre councillor Chris Ahern said planning staff are “overworked”, even without the new licensing system.

The council’s environmental department has already asked to be removed from the list of consultees, saying they do not have the capacity to deal with the number of applications expected.

Other consultees mentioned in the report by Lisa Simpson, head of legal and governance services, include community councils, emergency services and business representatives.

The report was presented to the committee, and their questions answered, by licensing manager Debra Gilkinson.

‘Overworked’

Mr Ahern said: “I would like to ask a question in terms of the capacity.

“Are we confident those organisations listed in the report are going to be able to process these applications in the timescale?

“We already have an overworked planning department and overworked environment department.

“We don’t know whether Police Scotland or the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have got the capacity to put applications through in the timescales.”

More staff required

The council report says income made from licensing fees will be used to hire more staff but it did not give details on charges or how many employees this is expected to pay for.

The committee was then told that the planning department are also short of resources and need to make the changes to legislation possible.

Other concerns regarding the report and its contents were raised by councillors during the meeting.

A consultation on the report and new legislation around short-term holiday lets is now live.

Those wanting to comment on it can submit a letter to the licensing department at the council headquarters or via email at civiclicensing@pkc.gov.uk.

The full policy can be viewed online.

The consultation is now live on Perth & Kinross Council’s consultation hub and people can respond online.

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