28 September 2023

October 1st deadline approaches for short-term lets licence applications

Aberdeenshire Council is urging short-term lets hosts to apply for their licence as soon as possible and to not wait until the deadline this Sunday before submitting applications.

Just over 700 applications have been made to Aberdeenshire Council so far, which is well below the 2,000+ expected.

Existing hosts must apply for a licence before 1 October 2023—a deadline previously extended by the Scottish Government from 1 April 2023. Hosts can continue operating while an application is being processed.

Under the scheme, existing hosts and operators that have already been providing short-term lets before 1 October 2022 must apply for a licence before 1 October 2023.

New hosts and operators, who were not providing short-term lets before 1 October last year cannot operate a short-term let until they have a licence.

Any new short-term let businesses and existing ones offering additional new accommodation must legally have a licence before operating or they could face a fine of up to £2,500. All short-term let properties need to be licensed by 1 July 2024.

The legislation was brought in by the Scottish Government to ensure short-term lets are safe, to address issues faced by neighbours, and to help councils understand what is happening in their area. It aims to balance economic and tourism benefits with the needs and concerns of local communities.

Find out more about the legislation, the Scottish Government guidance and to make an application on Aberdeenshire Council's website.

Aberdeenshire Council developed its licensing scheme with feedback from local businesses and communities. Its aim is to ensure visitors enjoy a safe experience in holiday let accommodation which will encourage them to return to the region and to support the area’s businesses.

There are 4 types of short-term let licence:

  • Secondary letting - the letting of property where you do not normally live, for example a second home that is let to guests
  • Home letting - using all or part of your own home for short-term lets, whilst you are absent, an example of this could be whilst you are on holiday
  • Home sharing - using part of your own home for short-term lets, whilst you are in residence
  • Home letting and home sharing - operating short-term lets from your own home while you are living there and for periods when you are absent

In light of the economic challenges facing businesses, the council agreed a substantial reduction of fees in December last year. Fees depend on the type of licence application and guest capacity of the property. The licence, once awarded, will last for 3 years:


Guest capacity (people) 


Home sharing or letting 


Secondary letting 


1 to 2 






3 to 4 






5 to 9 






10 to 15 






16 or more 





Applicants will need to provide a number of important documents with their application with fees paid otherwise we won’t be able to process them.

Documentation required includes:

  • Current Electrical Certificates of Compliance: Electrical Installation Condition Report
  • Current Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate for all appliances
  • Gas Safety Certificate – from a suitably accredited Gas Safe Registered installer
  • EPC Certificate (secondary lets only)
  • Evidence of your existing insurance arrangements for the property, example current cover, and Public Liability or Property Owners Liability insurance to a minimum cover of £2m per dwelling
  • Location and site plan for rural properties with multiple units
  • SFRS fire safety checklist
  • Wholesome Private Water Supplies – evidence of satisfactory results within the last 12 months