01 Oct 2013

Aberdeen City Council Review Provision of HMO Properties

Aberdeen City Council Review Provision of HMO Properties

Adrian Sangster, Leasing Manager, discusses the recent decision by Aberdeen City Council not to invoke an “overprovision policy” for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) properties in Aberdeen City at the present time.

Adrian Sangster, Leasing Manager, discusses the recent decision by Aberdeen City Council not to invoke an “overprovision policy” for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) properties in Aberdeen City at the present time.

Earlier this year Aberdeen City Council announced it was to hold a consultation to develop a draft 'Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Overprovision Policy' in light of new responsibilities handed to local authorities.

On 31 January 2012, new powers were introduced which allowed HMO licensing authorities to refuse to grant an HMO licence when there is considered to be an overprovision of HMO licences in an area.

These new powers were included in the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Act 2011.

In order for Aberdeen City Council to develop a fair and transparent policy for deciding if there was a HMO overprovision in an area, officers had invited the views of all interested parties.

This caused alarm with many landlords who had invested in HMO properties, especially in areas with a high student population. They were concerned that their licences, which are reviewed every 3 years, could be revoked. Thus leaving them with a property, adapted specifically for the HMO market, unable to be let to HMO tenants. This was doubly concerning because their ability to then sell the property would be greatly reduced on the basis it would likely be another HMO Landlord investor who would be looking to purchase

Local landlords, letting agents and the Scottish Association of Landlords policy team, all lobbied the local authority to ensure their officers were fully aware of their concerns, and also the simple fact that the demand from tenants for HMO properties was still far exceeding the supply.

However to the relief of these parties the recent meeting of the Aberdeen City Council Housing and Environment Committee which is responsible for HMOs in the city announced the following:

1. to agree that no policy on HMO overprovision is to be introduced following analysis of the current HMO provision in the City and the responses to the consultation;

2. to instruct the Director of Housing and Environment to continue to monitor policy and legal developments in HMO overprovision across Scotland and report back to Committee as appropriate if there are developments which require the Council’s position on HMO overprovision to be reviewed;

3. to agree that a review of the position of overprovision should be formally undertaken in 2016 if this has not been required earlier by recommendation 2. above;

4. to note that any HMO application that is the subject of a representation would be considered by the Licensing Committee who would then decide whether to grant a HMO license;

5. to remit the report and the decision of this Committee to the Licensing Committee for their information and independent action; and

6. to request officers to monitor the HMO provision in Old Aberdeen and report back in 12 months; and

7. to request officers to determine the scale of un-registered houses available to let and report back in twelve months.

This decision of course will continue to be monitored and the situation which will be reviewed in 2016 or earlier by the council.

Adrian Sangster, Leasing Manager


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