UKHospitality executive director for Scotland, Willie Macleod said that home-sharing and short-term letting platforms continue to operate at an “unfair advantage, arguably sometimes at the margins of the law”, and added the “time has come” for mandatory registration.
A consultation by the Scottish Government on short-term letting closes today (24 July), considering both a registration and licensing scheme.
Macleod added: “The rise in popularity of home-sharing platforms has revolutionised tourism and hospitality and has provided a huge amount of choice for consumers. That is to be welcomed, but those who wish to let rooms should do so in compliance with the law. Registration and consumers will benefit consumers by adding an additional layer of visibility and will ensure that other businesses are not unfairly disadvantaged.
“There is still a significant lack of clarity around the letting of rooms, which is not only unfair, it is potentially dangerous. Enforcement of health and safety law can be difficult when it is unclear when and where rooms are being let. This obviously put customers at risk. A registration and licensing scheme would help local authorities enforce rules which are designed to keep people safe.”
He added: “There is also the potential for people to abuse the system as things stand. Companies renting out multiple rooms and multiple properties on a permanent basis are able to operate as businesses without the usual regulations. By acting in bad faith, they can avoid the restrictions to which other businesses comply and are estimated to deny the taxman of hundreds of millions of pounds. Everyone ought to play by the rules.”