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Venture North teams up with Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers to offer advice to Caithness and Sutherland businesses on short-term lets legislation

By Niall Harkiss

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Venture North board members at Helmsdale Bridge. Pic. Trevor Martin
Venture North board members at Helmsdale Bridge. Pic. Trevor Martin

Self-catering businesses and short-term let providers across Caithness and Sutherland are being offered support and guidance to help them prepare for new short-term let licensing regulations, which come into force in October.

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) has teamed up with the region’s destination management organisation, Venture North, to help short-term let providers across the far north understand how the new Scottish Government legislation will affect them and their business, as well as the next steps they need to take.

Short-term let owners in the area are now being invited to register for an online Regulations Roadshow.

The online event, hosted by ASSC and Venture North, will take place from 6pm on Tuesday, August 2, with industry experts taking part to offer advice on how to prepare for the new regulations.

It is open to operators of all short-term lets, including self-catering, B&Bs, guest houses, glamping pods, as well as representatives from local authorities, agencies and anyone with an interest in the implementation of the new legislation from October 1.

Anyone looking to operate a short-term let for the first time from October 1 will need a licence before they do so. Those who are already operating short-term lets before this date must apply for a licence by April 1, 2023 if they wish to continue doing so.

In addition, the planning laws on short-term letting introduce a new power for local authorities to designate the whole or any part of their area as a Planning Control Area.

Cathy Earnshaw, destination strategy manager for Venture North and leader of the Tourism Recovery Strategy for Caithness and Sutherland, said: “It’s really important that short-term let owners across the far north Highlands take action now to prepare for the new Scottish Government regulations, so we’re teaming up with ASSC to help our members and the wider industry by staging an online ‘Regulations Roadshow’ event on Tuesday, August 2, from 6pm.

“The virtual event has been designed to help short-term let operators understand how the new legislation will affect them and their business, as well as the next steps they need to take, so we’re urging businesses to register today. The event is open to anyone with an interest in the implementation of the new legislation and is free for members of Venture North and ASSC.”

Fiona Campbell, CEO of the ASSC, said: “The ASSC is delighted to collaborate with Venture North for the latest ASSC Regulations Roadshow. Previous events have proven to be highly informative for stakeholders and our online event for those in Caithness and Sutherland promises to be no different.

“Short-term let operators don’t have long to prepare for these new regulations. We would strongly encourage as many businesses as possible in Caithness and Sutherland to sign up for the event to understand what they need to do in order to comply.”

To register for the online ‘Regulations Roadshow’ for Caithness and Sutherland hosted by ASSC and Venture North on Tuesday, August 2, and for more information, click here.

The ‘Regulations Roadshow’ event is free of charge for Venture North and ASSC members. To access the member discount code, email info@venture-north.co.uk. For non-members, tickets cost £25 per person, including VAT, plus Eventbrite fee.

In order to capture insights from the sector on the new legislation, the ASSC has launched a new online survey in conjunction with The Moffat Centre. The view and opinions gathered as part of the survey will be used to inform the Scottish Government and relevant stakeholders.

All short-term let providers are encouraged to take part in order to ensure ASSC can best argue on behalf of the sector and its needs. To access the survey, click here.

In addition, Highland Council is also consulting both short-term let providers, local communities and the public on their new draft policy document.

Available until August 5, the results from the online survey will be discussed in finalising the policy statement at the Highland Licensing Committee. To take part in the survey, click here.

For more information on the new Scottish legislation for short-term lets, go to the VisitScotland website at visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/advice/short-term-lets-legislation

More information about Venture North for business and communities in Caithness and Sutherland is available online at venture-north.co.uk.

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