MORE than 14,500 short-term let licences were validated by the end of December 2023, figures show.

Data published by the Scottish Government shows at least 23,576 applications were submitted to councils since the scheme opened on October 1, 2022.

However, at least 9037 applications had not been validated by the end of last year, with Housing Minister Paul McLennan urging hosts to provide any missing documentation.

Meanwhile, 14,539 were received and authorised.

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Operators of short-term lets, including B&Bs and homes rented out on Airbnb, were required to have applied to the scheme when it went live in October 2023.

The rules mean they can continue taking bookings and receiving guests while their application is considered.

However, hosts can be fined up to £2500 if they continue to operate without an application.

As of the end of last year, 49% of validated applications were granted a licence while 50% remained pending.

Just 1% were withdrawn, refused or lapsed.

Official figures show 55% – or 7989 – of applications verified were received in July to September 2023, the quarter just before the deadline.

Meanwhile, 79%, or 11,505, related to secondary lets where a non-primary residence is let out, while 1537 (11%) were home-sharing and 837 (6%) were home letting.

Some 660 (5%) were a mixture of home-sharing and letting.

The statistics also show 12,435 licences or exemptions were in place as of December 2023.

The National: Paul McLennan has denied the Scottish Government is 'gaslighting' Scots on homelessness followingPaul McLennan, SNP MSP for East Lothian

Housing Minister McLennan said: “It is encouraging to see that up to the end of December 2023, at least 23,576 applications have been received by local authorities for a short-term let licence.

“However, these only provide a partial picture which will gradually be completed as local authorities continue to validate applications and include them in their data returns.

“Licensing also safeguards the important role short-term let accommodation plays in our economy by providing assurance to guests on safety and quality, such as gas certificate compliance and suitability of electrical equipment.

“While licensing authorities do not have to report unvalidated applications, partial data was provided from 23 authorities that highlights there were at least 9,000 unvalidated applications. I urge applicants to work with authorities to provide missing documentation to ensure their application can be processed as quickly as possible.

“Local authorities have nine to 12 months to process applications from the moment they received them. Existing hosts can continue to receive guests and take guest bookings whilst their application is being considered.”