Local authorities are to be given new powers to regulate short-term lets where they decide this is in the interests of local communities.

The measures provide them with the ability to implement a licensing scheme for short-term lets from spring 2021.

And it is hoped the moves will help councils improve safety and assist with the handing of complaints.

The scheme will include a mandatory safety requirement to cover every type of short-term let and it will also give councils the discretion to apply further conditions to address the concerns of local residents.

Scottish Government Ministers have committed to urgently consider how short-term lets will be taxed to ensure they make a contribution to local communities and support local services.

Kevin Stewart, the Local Government Minister at the Scottish Parliament, said: “Short-term lets can offer people a flexible travel option and have contributed positively to Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies.

“However, we know that in certain areas, particularly tourist hot spots, high numbers of short-term lets are causing problems and often make it harder for people to find homes to live in.

“That is why we are empowering local authorities to implement a system that works for their area.”

Edinburgh Northern and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson said: “By establishing a licensing scheme, introducing short-term let control areas under planning regulations and reviewing the way short-term lets are taxed, I am confident that these new measures make will a positive and meaningful difference for many people living in Edinburgh and elsewhere.”

Edinburgh Green Councillor Chas Booth said: “This is a first step in turning the tide on the loss of thousands of homes in Edinburgh to holiday lets.”

Adam McVey (pictured), Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The announcement is extremely welcome news and will give us the controls that we need over short-term lets for our residents and communities across Edinburgh.”