Influx of licence applications ahead of new requirements

The council has had an influx of applications from short-term let accommodation providers as it prepares for new legislation.

The SIC says it may take months to deal with the applications, as operators of B&Bs, guest houses, lodges and self-catering premises rush to comply with the rules.

Despite the hold-up, operators will still be able to run their businesses – as long as their applications have been submitted by 1st October.

The move is being made as part of a new national scheme that came into force in 1st March 2022.

The new legislation covers air BnB properties, and even anyone letting a room in their home.

Across Scotland, local authorities are responsible for the administration of the scheme in their area. 

That has prompted Shetland Islands Council to remind hosts to make sure they submit, as a minimum, their application, plus floor plan, and fire safety checklist, before the end of September.

“Once received, applications will be considered as quickly as possible, although with a recent influx of applications, this may take some months,” a council press release states. 

Applicants are encouraged to read guidance on the SIC’s website, which may avoid the need to call or email. 

However, anyone who still has queries can e-mail Shetland Islands Council.

The licensing scheme aims to ensure all short-term lets are safe, and that any complaints and issues faced by neighbours can be addressed effectively.  

All short-term lets in Scotland will need to be licensed by 1st July 2024 and operating without a licence after this date will be unlawful.

The national portal with guidance, including the types of accommodation that need a short-term let licence, can be found at

Environmental health team leader Louise Moar said:  “We’re keen to remind anyone who has any short term let accommodation in Shetland that they can’t operate beyond 1st October 2023 unless they have submitted an application to us.  

“We will then process applications as soon as possible and follow up with applicants with any queries where necessary.”  


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