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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to hold a further round of webinars on mandatory licensing for short-term lets.

This latest information campaign for accommodation providers in the Outer Hebrides will include representatives from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, advising on fire safety and fire safety risk assessments. Participants will also be given information on the application process and have an opportunity to ask questions.

Mandatory licensing was introduced in October 2022. New operators launching accommodation after this date must be licensed before offering short-term lets. Existing operators must apply for a licence before October 1, 2023.

A licensing spokesperson said: “We have also been getting enquiries from hosts who rent pods and caravans. These normally only need a Caravan Site Licence rather than a Short-term Let Licence; they don’t need both. If anyone has a pod or caravan that does not have a licence, then we recommend they contact us.”

To date, there have been 200 applications, and so far, 76 short-term let licences have been granted. The October 1 deadline for existing accommodation providers is an extension. Based on previous estimates, Comhairle expects over 400 applications to be outstanding.

Added the licensing spokesperson: “Some hosts have had issues with getting electricians and Energy Performance Certificates, and we recommend that you book these in as soon as possible if required. We are reminding these hosts who have not yet applied to familiarise themselves with the licensing requirements and recommend that they apply at least four weeks before the deadline, ensuring they submit all the required information.

“This will allow us to process the application and issue a temporary licence number to the host prior to the deadline, as it is unlikely the main online platforms will advertise rentals without a valid licence number after October 1, 2023.”

Places on the webinars can be booked via the Comhairle’s Short Term Let webpage.

Further information on caravans can be obtained on the Caravan Site Licence webpage.