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Applicant decries government legislation that brings ‘total chaos’ to self-catering property owners

Norman Cordiner was at Highland Council's licensing committee earlier today.

Norman Cordiner gives evidence at Highland Council in Inverness over the short term let licence
Norman Cordiner gave evidence to the Highland licensing committee on the short term let licensing legislation. Image: Highland licensing committee.

A prominent business owner has told Highland Council he was thinking of “throwing in the towel” over a licence to run an Air BnB in Inverness.

Businessman Norman Cordiner told this morning’s licensing committee that due to the process of licensing and neighbour complaints, he was thinking of giving up his £2.5 million property portfolio.

The business runs 13 short-term let properties in the city, 11 of which are owned by Mr Cordiner and his family.

The Lochardil property before the committee at 5 West Healther Road is marketed on Air BnB, Expedia, and

The short-term let licensing scheme was introduced in October 2022.

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 local authorities understand what is happening in their area.

The public was widely consulted on the short-term let licensing scheme. Image: Aberdeen City Council.

After receiving complaints and objections to his short-term lease licence for 5 West Heather Road in the city, Mr Cordiner was concerned that angry neighbours could destroy legitimate businesses across the city, and beyond.

He appeared before the Highland licensing committee today to air his thoughts on the system.

Inverness short-term let licence gave rise to doors banging on cars at 6.30am

His self-catering house has five double bedrooms and four parking spaces. The property is used for a mixture of self-catering for workmen and families on holiday in the area.

In one objection to the application neighbours Angus and Sarah Young said: “Guests often come and go at unsociable hours. It is not unusual for work vans to leave at 6.30 am with occupants banging doors, shouting, and warming up vehicles.”

In the second of the two complaints about the property, Robert William and Ann Dunnett Cormack objected to the self-catering property saying the owners did not care for surrounding neighbours’ “wellbeing”.

Only two objections were raised, but triggered a hearing in front of the licensing committee, rather than simply being put through as a delegated decision.

Speaking at the south licensing committee in Inverness on Tuesday morning, Mr Cordiner, who is also the chairman of Inshes and Milton of Leys Community Council, said that having to apply every five years for a licence to run his business was “total chaos”.

He said: “Reports suggest that 61% of self-catering businesses will not be renewing the short-term lease licence.

Highland Council headquarters building.
Highland Council has approved plans to build thousands of affordable housing across the Highlands. Image: Sandy McCook/ DC Thomson.

“I am not anti regulation. [But] a five-year licence application process, every five years, where a neighbour can influence a licence short term over the parking of vans in bays at their own property is a concern.”

He said the vans were parking in their own parking bays inside the curtilage of the property. Since 2017, when the property opened, 300 people have used the property.

He continued: “The prospect of having a business go through a licensing process every five years can count as total chaos.”

Explain the lengths his family as owners go to to keep the gardens in pristine condition, he said: “Some of our neighbours could smarten up their gardens.”

The short-term licence was approved, taking the number of Kingston Inverness Limited properties licenced by Highland Council to 13.