Scottish short term let rules- potential issue?

Hi, I’ve listed for my first sit is Scotland. As people might be aware Scotland bought in some really strict short term let licensing rules last year. I went on the gov website and have been googling online and it seems a grey area with something like THS.
the rules say

’ If your guests are not paying to stay in the property then it’s not a short-term let. Unless the guests are:

working or providing a service for you, or another person who lives with you, while staying in the accommodation’

so technically petsitting is a service?

Now getting paranoid if the sit goes wrong or my neighbours complain I could be in serious trouble!

There are literally thousands of sits in the UK/Scotland every day of every month so I wouldn’t be concerned in the least. Put Dr Google away :laughing:


Oh my! Yes really strict. And a horrible fine!

But then there is an exception that I find difficult to interpret:

"Your accommodation is likely to need a short-term let licence unless your guest:

  • uses the accommodation to carry out work or services for you"

That sounds to me as that petsitting would be such an exception.

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Relax. From that gov’t site:

Note: I’m always friendly with host’s neighbors. And if it comes up, I let them know I’m watching their pets. That’s if I’m not with their dog, which makes it obvious.

Most neighbors who are normal won’t be reporting a host over pet sitters. If you have neighbors with a grudge, then maybe you have a potential problem.


There are a lot of sits in Scotland as @ziggy says and unpaid house sitting would be a seriously flimsy one to get people in trouble for so highly unlikely in the UK. For any international sitters reading this we now have the same issue in Turkey. They’ve just changed the rules to any guests in houses unaccompanied by owners having to be registered at the jandarma & the HO paying £400 to be registered (one off). Just a heads up for wandering nomads to know as it’s a bit tougher out here to talk your way around things #giftofthegabrequired.


Dr. Google certainly doesn’t know everything. I liked your perspective.

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Person: “Good day. I noticed you are staying at Joan and Sue’s place?”

Me: "Why yes…I’m a friend of Joan & Sue’s hanging with the kitties while they are away. Didn’t they tell you?:(ahahahaha…fake friendly laugh)
“You must ask them how their trip was when they return. I’ve got to run. Thanks for the chat. (Ahhhahahaha … big smile :grinning:and a wave :wave:”)


Worth considering that some folks are on very good terms with their neighbors and they often know when and where they’re going on vacation and they know there will be sitters. Like I’ve met neighbors during U.K. and U.S. sits and they’ve said, oh, yes, XX is on vacation, because they recognized their dog. Once, I went to a pub in the village high street — taking the pup along, since they’re welcomed — and the woman working the bar even said, oh, you’re the American staying at XX and XX’s house.

I tell my U.S. neighbors if someone is going to stay at our place while we’re gone, because we look out for each other. My husband once scared off someone who was sitting on our neighbors’ front steps while we knew they were on vacation, because he walked by with our dog and we texted our vacationing neighbors, who said no one was supposed to be at the house. When he left, my husband circled back and found a knife on the steps. We reported it to police.

When I talk to hosts’ neighbors, I’m always friendly, just because, and also because I figure it’s worth helping them keep good relations if they already have them. At a recent sit in Seattle, I spoke to a neighbor for about 30 mins. My hosts had great neighbors and mentioned that more than once.

I did a U.K. sit where my hosts intro’d me to neighbors and one invited me to a lecture and another to afternoon tea.


Yes it is a service. Therefore you do not need a license.
If you were to receive payment from the sitter for “utilities” then you may be crossing a line into short term let territory.

Just waiting for HMRC to find a way to tax it now.

Letting property in Scotland has had different rules to the rest of the UK for many years. Landlords have to be checked and registered and this is rechecked regularly. It is area specific, so each council has a register and you have to be registered in each area in which you own and let property. It’s very strict.
This was extended to Holiday Lets last year and came into place this April. It includes a full Fire Risk Assessment and Gas and Electricity checks as well as other features. Without this you can’t run/own a Holiday Let. You have to also have the property available for rental 142 + nights a year to be considered as a Holiday Let, this is to do with Charges for things like bins etc.
Allowing people to live in your home as visitors is not a Holiday Let or short term let in any way nor do I think it could ever be regarded as such. Unless you have a tenancy which specifically does not allow visitors there seems to be no way of policing this nor indeed would anyone have the time or energy to care. There’s enough to do checking up on the real landlords, and let me tell you we do get checked up on!