A Perth and Kinross Tory councillor says he is horrified at the prospect of needing a licence to swap his home for holidays.
Councillor Angus Forbes, who represents Carse of Gowrie, has already opposed the SNP government’s scheme for all short-term lets to be fully licensed by July 1 next year.
But he is even more upset now it will affect him personally.
Cllr Forbes regularly enjoys house-swaps with people from across the world.
He says it has enabled him to sit in a hot tub while watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.
Elsewhere in the US he has seen bears in Colorado and enjoyed outdoor showers in remote New England.
Now he fears all that may end if he needs to get a licence to allow house-swappers to stay in his home.
Shock at holiday licensing requirement
Cllr Forbes said it never occurred to him that he would need to apply for a licence when he wants to go on holiday.
But the Scottish Government has confirmed that licences are required for house swaps.
“We have swapped with families across America, Canada and New Zealand over many years.” he said.
“And always had wonderful times staying away from regular tourist spots and in private homes.
“We had a fantastic swap in Seattle where we found ourselves in a swap that was built on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean where we could sit in the hot tub and watch the sun set over the ocean.
“In Aspen, we swapped with a family in the mountains where we would see and hear Bears trying to get into the outside bins.
“In Auckland we swapped with a really quirky self-build property with an outside shower and in New England we were in the middle of nowhere, where at night it was absolutely black but the views of the stars were amazing.
“We would struggle to have those experiences in a tourist hotel.
“However, matters have now changed.”
Short-term policy criticised by property businesses
Scotland’s short-term lets law was amended in October last year.
New hosts are now required to apply for a short-term let licence before accepting bookings or receiving guests.
Perth and Kinross Council’s draft guidance on the changes says all existing short-term let hosts must apply for a licence by October 1 2023.
The document is under consultation until August 18.
It has been criticised for indicating that short-term lets in existing residential properties need to contain four bedrooms and have their own door that leads to the street or garden.
This could destroy some property businesses, it has been claimed.
House-swap threat for Perthshire councillor
Now Cllr Forbes believes it could scupper house-swapping too.
“We get requests almost every week for swaps with the US or Canada but sadly we can’t accept them all,” he said.
“It looks like we won’t be able to accept any of them after October.
“There is no way that me swapping my house with a family in America for two weeks in the summer is having an impact on the availability of affordable homes.
“Nor will it cause any inconvenience for my neighbours who, in the past, have welcomed those visitors with open arms and made friends themselves.”
Councillor in ‘listening mode’ over new law
SNP members on Perth and Kinross Council are reluctant to comment during the consultation period.
“I am in listening mode,” said Cllr Eric Drysdale, ward member for Perth City Centre.
“Cllr Forbes has clearly made up his mind already for his own personal reasons.”
A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson referred enquiries on the house-swap policy to the Scottish Government.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “The focus of our licensing scheme is a mandatory set of safety standards that apply to all short-term lets.
“Our scheme also gives local authorities the powers to strike a balance between the economic and tourism benefits of short-term lets by addressing community concerns around making sure short-term lets are managed appropriately by operators.
“We would encourage hosts considering letting or those already operating to contact the council where their accommodation is located to obtain more information about how to apply.”