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Saturday, 16 August 2008


MSCC represent areas which contain predominantly tenement property and are constantly being asked to help in relation to problems with HMOs.
On figures provided by the Council:
Ward 10 Southside/Newington and Ward 15 Meadows/Morningside have between them almost 54% of the total HMOs licensed in Edinburgh.
96% of these HMOs are authorised by the licensing authority
The predominance of HMOs in a tenement or area results in:
wear and tear on the property,
increased noise and disruption where people with differing lifestyles live together and
the drift of a individuals and families to other areas.
reduces the diversity of the population needed to sustain the community as a whole.
The Licensing Authority consider that their only remit is to ensure the safety of tenants. Their policy takes no account of the impact too many HMOs make on individual tenements or areas. This is completely at odds with the way they deal with any other licence application. The community have no difficulty with supporting a policy which ensures the safety of tenants and assures the quality of the accommodation. They do however have a problem with a policy which does not support diversity and sustainability in the community and continues with a policy which denies the importance of these in any community. These areas have benefited from the extra diversity and type of population which occupy HMOs and are aware that they fulfil a need for rented accommodation. However the present policy pays no heed whatsoever to controlling the proportions of HMOs in any tenement or area despite the difficulties this causes to other residents. The Community Councils feel very strongly that this policy is harming the future of their communities. As a community council we are of the view that they are failing in their duty to the community as a whole (and here I included tenants landlords and proprietors) if they do not do change their policy to use the powers they have.
We ask them to review their policy use the powers under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 and the The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to consider the suitability of the property and the impact of the amenity on surrounding properties when granting a licence for an HMO. They will do this in relation to any other licence they grant – why will they not use these powers in relation to HMOs. We have researched the legal issues and are in no doubt that they have the authority to do so. We also want the licensing authority to enforce the conditions attached to an HMO and prosecute where these are breached. Lack of enforcement is a major problem.
The submission which we have prepared gives the details and I ask the Partnership to use their influence to ensure that the Licensing authority give serious consideration to the issues involved and the problems caused by their present policy. The full submission is attached.
Anne Laird
Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council

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