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Scottish ‘Government’ latest assault on private property rights

This proposes to make it illegal to take in a lodger/paying guests unless you have a licence from the local council. To get a licence you’d have to make sure your house met state-approved ‘standards’.

It’s intended as legislation to clamp down on noisy AirBnB flats in cities, but is also being used as a vehicle for ScotGov to meet their targets for eco-friendly homes: Any opportunity is used to force private owner-occupiers to “upgrade” their homes to be more energy-efficient (and have the right number of smoke/fire/heat detectors).

14 comments to Scottish ‘Government’ latest assault on private property rights

  • staghounds

    It’s PITCHED as legislation to “clamp down on noisy AirBnB flats in cities”, but it’s INTENDED to keep overpriced hotels in business.

    Or is there suddenly a quiet night’s sleep lobby getting legislation written?

  • Duncan S


    It was I who raised this one via Perry. Living in a rural area, my intention (pre-covid) was to start taking in paying guests this year, to add an additional income stream to my craft business, and I only found out about the proposed legislation via a friend who was already taking in guests via AirBnB.

    I agree, it was ‘pitched’ as such, but, of course, it is intended to satisfy a number of cravings of the bureaucrats in Edinburgh.

    1. bring houses in Scotland up to a “tolerable standard”, by forcing homeowners to make their homes meet a particular energy permance level.

    2. make all houses in Scotland fit heat/smoke/CO2 detectors to meet the new building standards. The legislation for this was changed a couple of years ago, and, as I’ve only just discovered, all houses must meet the new standards by February 2021. I don’t recall any missive through the post from ScotGov, but this morning received a flyer from a company offering to install the necessary! Whilst there is no suggestion that someone from the council will going round demanding entry to check that you have the correct number of detectors (yet), you’ll find (after Feb 2021) that it will be difficult to sell your home without them.

    3. Transient Visitor Levy: ScotGov want councils to be able to generate additional revenue by raising a tourist tax on tourist/traveller beds. Council’s could easily do that for Hotels: they know who/where the hotels are in their areas. But I suspect the Hotel operators have complained that is unfair as there are so many other transient beds available. So this new Short Term Let Licensing system will enable councils to include everybody in the tourist tax-raising system: even Granny, taking in the occassional commercial traveller or tourist.

    4. Rural housing shortage: there is a perception that holiday cottages reduce the number of properties available for long-term housing. So if a licensing system makes some people sell up, that’s probably a result according to ScotGov. (except the only people who can afford to buy such properties will use them as their own holiday home, without letting them out).

    5. Oh, and it might solve the problem of anti-social party flats in Edinburgh.

    In the meantime, a reduction in short term (holiday) accommodation in rural areas will result in fewer visitors to those areas, with a knock-on negative economic impact to restaurants, bars, ice-cream shops, visitor attractions, retail outlets, etc, etc.

    This proposed legislation, which gives the Council more powers over what you can do with your own private property, is being snuck in as a Statutory Instrument: at a stroke of the pen by decision of a committee, the council takes on the role of Feudal Superior. And yet it took a full act of the new Scottish Parliament in 2000 to abolish Feudal Tenure.

  • Sam Duncan

    “And yet it took a full act of the new Scottish Parliament in 2000 to abolish Feudal Tenure.”

    Which, by then, meant very little. It’s largely been* replaced by the English system (yay for devolution!) of long-term leases that Scots lawyers used to laugh at.

    This neo-feudalism, on the other hand, will have real-world consequences.

    *Or “is being”. From what I recall, existing feus weren’t abolished, but you can’t create new ones.

  • AlfromChgo

    Living by the code: “By any means necessary”.

  • Stonyground

    Scotland presumably wanted to have their own parliament, it wasn’t imposed on them in any way. So now they get to know the meaning of that old Biblical verse that says that you reap what you sow. How long before they get to be like those post WW2 communist states that had to close their borders to stop everyone leaving.

  • Katy Hibbert

    Krankie McFishface is a tyrannical shrew without a democratic bone in her body and a squawk that could shatter glass.

  • Mr Ed

    I have noticied that Scots of my acquaintance (who are all professionala) seem far more immersed in politics and nuances of the political scene (and hence statism) than my English acquaintances. This has been the case since the 2014 indepedence referendum. It strikes me that the Zeitgeist in Scotland is of a drive to more government of every aspect of life. This scheme is just one ratchet, and the SNP’s terrible fear is that the Westminster Parliament could unravel their empire in one afternoon, fat chance that it would happen, it is legally possible for now.

    Having said that, every government that I can think of bar Sweden, Tanzania and the United States is currently regulating how we breathe, the very air, not the quality of the atmosphere, the very essence of totalitarianism.

  • bobby b

    “This proposes to make it illegal to take in a lodger/paying guests unless you have a licence from the local council. To get a licence you’d have to make sure your house met state-approved ‘standards’.”

    Aside from the actual license, this is pretty much the standard regulatory environment in most US cities. Should I wish to take a paying lodger into my home, I must satisfy several building-code provisions that wouldn’t otherwise apply, such as access to egress windows, proper plumbing, adequate smoke/CO2 detectors, parking requirements, square-footage-per-occupant requirements . . .

    In some US cities, I must also procure in advance a permit to do this.

    In addition, many localities require renter stays to be of some listed minimum length – i.e., effectively outlawing the AirBnB type of business outside of commercial areas.

  • David Bolton

    Duncan S. Did you really mean co2 detector? That would be a new one. CO (Carbon Monoxide) yes its deadly but Co2?. Co2 is of course what gives plants and trees life. It is not nor never has been a pollutant despite econutters labelling it so and calling it carbon which is deliberately wrong and scientifically illiterate.

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    One of the less pleasant things (as I see it) about US cities is that many seem to have a wide discretion over what they can (ostensibly) make illegal, hence this Institute for Justice (of Kelo fame) video about Pagedale, a town in Missouri that seems to have no end of scams going to fine its residents, it has almost become what in the UK is called a ‘SEFRA’ a ‘Self-Financing Regulatory Agency’ that can impose fines (e.g. on a profession’s members) to finance itself, with no copyright strike in sight from the Spanish Inquisition, which pioneered this model (which flies in the face of Dr Bonham’s Case). Whilst this may in fact breach due process under the US Constitution, one of the minor blessings of the UK is the lack of original jurisdiction in our cities to make things illegal without some national law to authorise it. However, it seems that in Scotland, they are running out of road as the government gears up to impose this nationwide, and then there is no escape.

    David B:

    Give them time, they will measure CO2 in your homes to check how many people are living in it, and as per the original Utopia, move people around between buildings regardless of notional ownership to even things out.

  • Paul Marks

    Scottish culture takes ideas seriously – and I respect and APPROVE of that. The terrible trouble is that in the modern world BAD ideas (FALSE principles) dominate – the ideas, principles, of Collectivism.

    Thus Scottish government policy is guided by principles (good), but they are FALSE principles (very bad).

    But do not be smug – as what Scotland does today, England does tomorrow. Contrary to David Hume habit-custom-tradition is NOT an effective safeguard against bad principles – England may (sometimes) be slower to adopt bad ideas than other places, but we still adopt bad ideas. The only real safeguard against bad principles is GOOD PRINCIPLES. The principles of freedom (of REASON) are the only real defence against the principles of Collectivism that dominate policy, and not just policy in Scotland (policy in most places).

    I repeat – the Hume-Hayek habit-custom-tradition defence against Collectivism is, in the end, no defence of liberty at all. People must UNDERSTAND the principles of liberty and CHOOSE to support them.

    “But ordinary people are not capable of understanding basic principles, and their “choices” are Predetermined”.

    That is the great divide between those two Scottish thinkers David Hume and Thomas Reid – with the former holding that ordinary people are not capable of understanding the basic principles of liberty and that our choices are really predetermined “choices”, with even the human BEING (the “I” – the soul, in the Aristotelian sense) not “really” existing.

    This is why the basic philosophy of David Hume (his conception of what a human is – his denial that we are PERSONS, human BEINGS capable of CHOOSEING to do other than we do) is evil. Yes evil – however, nice Mr Hume may have been himself (or how “free market” he may have been in his own politics and economics). To deny the existence of the human person (the “I”), our existence as human BEINGS, capable of real choice, is evil – and it leads to all other evils.

    Philosophy has consequences – if ordinary people are not really human BEINGS (if we are not moral agents capable of making real choices) then OF COURSE there is need for “licensing” to have a lodger – and “licensing” (government permission) to do, or not do, everything else.

    Either we are persons (human beings) or we are flesh robots – and flesh robots need their programming and instructions.

  • Duncan S

    David Bolton

    Yes I really meant carbon MONOXIDE, but, hey I wouldn’t be surprised if ScotGov make it compulsory for carbon Dioxide detectors to detect how much each household emits, and tax accordingly. 🙂

    And I’ve just typed that and then read Bobby B’s comment. 🙂

  • Duncan S

    David Bolton

    Just found this:

    Modern homes are better insulated than ever before!

    It’s great news for energy efficiency, not so great for ventilation.

    In this post, we investigate why seemingly harmless carbon dioxide can be a danger in homes and offices, and what you need to do about it.

    House building techniques have come a long way since the delightful, but draughty, era of Victorian red-bricks. The houses we build today are better insulated, warmer, more energy efficient and virtually air tight. This is great, but air quality must be maintained.

    Those living or working in new-build properties risk breathing in too much of the carbon dioxide they and those around them emit [GCSE chemistry here folks, we breathe in oxygen, breath out carbon dioxide]. The risk is such that it’s prompted the Scottish Government to require the installation of carbon dioxide monitors in all domestic homes.

  • G6loq

    No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
    Mark Twain

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