A TOURISM champion has claimed the Scottish Government’s restrictions on short term lets are discriminatory against women.

Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said a new scheme requiring landlords who own Airbnb-style properties to have a licence or face hefty fines would have a disproportionate effect on women.

In a series of tweets, Campbell – also director of the Scottish Agritourism group, said 70% of self-catering businesses were run by “either females or partnerships” while just 12% were run by men.

She accused the Scottish Government of being in breach of a UN agreement on sexist discrimination.

“The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979) is a key international treaty addressing gender-based discrimination and providing specific protections for women’s rights,” said Campbell.

READ MORE: Third of MSPs calling for short term lets delay have been lobbied by AirBnb

“70% of self-catering businesses are run by either females or partnerships, with just 12% of operators being male.

“This is conducive with females being able to fit the operation of their business around child-care and other responsibilities.

“The prejudice applied to the Scottish self-catering sector will therefore have a disproportionate impact on women, in breach of The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979).”

From October 1, all short-term lets – from bed and breakfasts to individual rooms let out to tourists – will require a licence to operate, in a scheme the Scottish Government hopes will help local authorities regulate the number of properties of this type in their area.

The Government and housing campaigners are concerned the high concentration of short-term lets, especially in places like Edinburgh, are choking the housing supply and ruining the local character of places across the country.

But landlords are resistant to the scheme, with few signing up to the scheme despite the looming deadline to do so – or face fines of up to £2,500.

The Scottish Government carried out a review in 2020 and found its policy would not have any effect with regard to equality laws. 

A spokesperson said: "Bringing short-term let accommodation into line with other accommodation such as hotels and caravan parks brings a range of benefits to assurance and quality – licensed operators are absolutely supported to deliver their business in a way that works for them.

“Six impact assessments, including an equality impact assessment, were conducted in 2020, and were informed by two consultations, stakeholder engagement and the industry working group which was established to advise on and inform the development of the legislation.”