A consultation on a new licensing system for short-term let properties has been launched by the Scottish Government.
Legislation intended to tackle the growth of Airbnb-style rentals in tourist hotspots like Edinburgh is expected to go before the Scottish Parliament later this year.
It was originally planned to become law before the election, but some MSPs expressed concern about the proposed rules and called for more guidance to be drawn up.
This guidance has now been published, and the consultation will run until August 13.
Under the proposed legislation, councils will have until October 1, 2022 to establish a licensing scheme, with all short-term lets to be licensed by April 1, 2024.
Existing hosts and operators must apply for a licence by April 1, 2023.
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “Regulation of short-term lets is vital if we are to balance the needs and concerns of our communities with wider economic and tourism interests.
“Short-term lets can offer people a flexible and cheaper travel option and have contributed positively to our tourism industry and local economies across the country.
“However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hotspots, high numbers of short-term lets can cause problems for neighbours and make it harder for people to find homes to live in.
“By allowing local authorities appropriate regulatory powers through a licensing scheme, we can ensure that short-term lets are safe and address issues faced by local residents and communities.
“It will allow local authorities to understand more fully what is happening in their areas and assist with the effective handling of complaints.”
She said the Government wants to get the legislation “absolutely right” and a stakeholder working group had been set up earlier this year.
When the scheme was previously discussed at Holyrood’s Local Government Committee, some MSPs raised concerns that bed and breakfast properties would be included in the licensing system alongside Airbnb-style self-catering accommodation.
Responding to the proposals, a spokesman for Airbnb said they are too costly for its hosts.
He said: “Airbnb has long called for clear rules that work for everyone in Scotland but we share concerns with the tourism industry that these specific proposals are too complex, costly and bureaucratic.
“That is why the tourism industry has put forward clearer proposals that will achieve the same goals while supporting local families and helping accelerate Scotland’s economic recovery.
“We remain committed to working with the Scottish Government through its consultation to ensure we get this right.”