PERTH and Kinross Council has moved a step closer to introducing a licensing scheme for short-term lets.

The aim of the scheme is to allow Scottish councils such as Perth and Kinross (PKC) to “balance the needs and concerns of communities with wider tourism and economic interests”.

The scheme will be introduced on October 1 in line with legislation approved by the Scottish Parliament in January 2022.

The new legislation requires Scotland’s local authorities to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October 1, 2022.

While short-term lets can boost the local economy, the legislation has been introduced due to issues arising such as noise, litter and a shortage of housing.

READ MORE: Edinburgh introduces strict rules on Airbnb-style short-term lets

A draft of PKC’s proposed short-term lets licensing scheme and schedule of fees went before the council’s Licensing Committee on August 3. Councillors were asked to agree to a public consultation on the proposed policy.

The committee was told by licensing manager Debra Gilkison that PKC would have to take on more staff to deal with the anticipated volume of applications.

Fees are being set for the licences to cover costs accrued by the council in delivering this. They vary from council to council. Some councils will be able to handle licences within their current workforce. PKC is currently advertising for additional members of staff.

Gilkison told the committee the council was expecting up to 2500 applications for licences.

“We have to take on staff to deal with the volume of applications we expect to receive," she said.

The fees vary for the size and type of let – rising to as much as £1600 for a three-year secondary letting licence for accommodation with over 11 guests.

Conservative Strathallan councillor Keith Allan expressed scepticism over the monitoring of temporary short-term lets.

He said: “In our area we have quite a number of golf championships at many of our courses. And there’s quite a lot of canvassing going on for local people to let their houses for the week of the championship.

“Are we expecting people to apply for a licence to let their houses for a week?”

Licensing manager Debra Gilkison said: “We would expect people to apply for temporary exemption for things like the Ryder Cup and any major music festivals.

“It would be a temporary exemption they’d have to apply for from October 1.”

Allan said: “Like I say people will canvas for houses. And there are also events where people will swap houses for events. I just think it’s a very very difficult one for you to police.”

Liberal Democrat Kinross-shire councillor Willie Robertson sought assurance the consultation would not be a “box-ticking exercise” and would be “meaningful” with comments received in the consultation “taken seriously and the policy could be changed in the light of comments received”.

Gilkison said: “I can assure you this consultation and all consultations we carry out are taken seriously. We are seeking views from the public, businesses, hosts and operators. All comments will be put within the report that comes back to members for them to peruse the comments and if they wish to update the policy on reflection of any comments made that will be done at the next committee.”

The recommendations put forward by council officers were unanimously approved by councillors on the Licensing Committee.

PKC’s head of Legal and Governance Services will now conduct a public consultation on PKC’s draft Short Term Let Policy Statement and schedule of fees.

A report with the final draft of the policy and schedule of fees will come before the Licensing Committee ahead of the scheme coming into force on October 1, 2022.