OWNERS of short-term let properties in Dumfries and Galloway must be properly licensed — or they face landing in trouble with the police.
Under new Scottish Government legislation, the region’s estimated 2300 short term lets must be operating with the right paperwork and meeting correct standards.
Around two thirds of short-term let property owners have applied to Dumfries and Galloway Council for a licence, however just over half of these have been processed so far.
Council staff are currently struggling with demand due to the influx of property owners rushing to meet the new requirements, and in some cases various checks have to be made, such as ensuring safety certificates are in place, consideration of objections, or site visits.
The matter is due to be discussed at the council’s communities committee next week where two housing and licensing standards officers are set to be appointed, along with an assistant, to deal with a “significant backlog of undetermined applications.”
A report, due to be tabled at the meeting, reads: “There are an estimated 2300 short-term lets in our region. If all mandatory conditions are satisfied short-term lets hosts and operators are issued with a licence for up to three years.
“Fees are paid on making the application. Where concerns are made known to the council, these will be thoroughly investigated and where they are found to be substantive a report will be brought to the licensing panel to allow the host or operators fit and proper person status to be determined.”
The report continues: “As at January 22, 2024, the council has received 1565 short-term lets licence applications and has issued 829 licences. There are 736 applications going through various stages of the determination process.
“The council works extensively with hosts and operators where possible to ensure that they are compliant and meet mandatory licensing conditions.
“The council has agreed an enforcement process with Police Scotland where existing hosts and operators continue to operate without applying for a licence, with template letters and an enforcement warning notice having been approved by legal services.
“A first and second reminder letter will be sent to non-compliant hosts asking them to apply for a licence. Finally, an enforcement warning notice gives formal notice that they will be reported to Police Scotland if they do not comply.
“If hosts and operators continue to be non-compliant a referral will be made to Police Scotland to investigate the matter further.”