New powers are to be introduced to control short-term holiday lets in tourist hotspots like Loch Lomond.

The Government is launching the measures as residents cash in on the fast-growing 'airbnb' business where travellers can rent property in a residential property.

However, there are fears that high numbers of short-term lets are causing problems and often make it harder for people to find homes.

The Government wants to ensure visitors coming to enjoy Scotland's scenery and culture have a safe, quality experience.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced measures in the Scottish Parliament to provide local authorities with the ability to implement a licensing scheme for short-term lets from spring 2021.

He said this would enable councils to know and understand what is happening in their area, improve safety and assist with the effective handing of complaints.

The licensing scheme will include a new mandatory safety requirement that will cover every type of short-term let to ensure a safe, quality experience for visitors.

It will also give councils the discretion to apply further conditions to address the concerns of local residents.

Councils will be able to designate control areas to ensure that planning permission will always be required for the change of use of whole properties for short-term lets.

Mr Stewart said he recognised that short-term lets offer people a flexible travel option and have contributed positively to Scotland’s tourism industry and local economies.

He added: “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.

"By giving councils the power to set conditions around short-term lets licences and put in place planning control areas to tackle hot spots, communities across Scotland will be able to decide what is best for them and their local economy.

“Everybody wants visitors, hosts, neighbours and local residents to be safe.

"That is why the licensing scheme includes a safety element which will be mandatory across Scotland for all short-term lets."

Mr Stewart said that, separately, local authorities will be given discretion to include further conditions to help tackle littering or overcrowding of properties.

A consultation on a regulatory framework for short-term lets in Scotland received over 1,000 responses, the majority of which were supportive of some form of regulation.