Posted on Fri 12 May 2017 at 13:00 by Lewis Macleod
Say No to the Limit on HMOs
Fill out the Aberdeen City Council Consultation
A few months ago, Aberdeen City Council’s ‘Communities, Housing, and Infrastructure’ committee discussed a proposal for the implementation of an HMO (Homes of Multiple Occupancy) Overprovision policy. This policy seeks to limit the number of HMO properties within certain areas, and this has now gone to public consultation to be discussed at a full council meeting next month.
The definition of an HMO is living accommodation which is:
- occupied by 3 or more unrelated persons; and
- occupied by them as their only or main residence; and
- they share kitchen and/or bathroom facilities
HMO properties provide provision for students to move in with their friends, and also offer a great opportunity for University staff to live with colleagues, helping to create a community feel in the residential areas on and surrounding campus. In addition, HMO properties are subject to stringent conditions that must be met in order to accrue and maintain a license, meaning better standards and quality of housing. You can read more about the necessary conditions here: http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/nmsruntime/saveasdialog.asp?lID=68336&sID=237
Following a discussion on a draft overprovision policy, the CHI committee resolved to go to public consultation on a proposal to restrict HMOs within the ‘Froghall, Powis and Sunnybank’, ‘Old Aberdeen’, and ‘Garthdee’ areas: three areas directly surrounding the two Universities within the city. It is clear that the targeting of solely these areas will disproportionately affect students, rendering Aberdeen an even more unaffordable city for students to live in. Limiting HMOs would mean some students having to live in more expensive accommodation, or spending more money travelling across the city to get to University.
With the recent fall in private rental sector prices, HMO-licensed properties are far cheaper to rent than halls offered by purpose-built student accommodation providers such as Unite and Hello Student, which can charge up to £12,000 a year per room. Further, many students wish to live in flats/houses not only because they are more affordable than private halls but also because they often offer larger living spaces, feel more homely, and enable students to live as residents within the local community.
Indeed, students are pivotal to the local community here at Aberdeen: many are involved in volunteering projects with community groups and local schools, run events and initiatives for the benefit of all residents, and raise money for local charities – last year, the RAG (Raising and Giving) campaign raised over £120,000! Fundamentally, the University wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for students, and plans to limit HMOs would have the effect of shutting students out of living within the local community.
It’s essential that student voices are heard in this city council consultation – you can fill in this short survey that will take no more than 5 minutes of your time: https://consultation.aberdeencity.gov.uk/communities-housing-and-infrastructure/hmo-overprovision/consultation/intro/
You can also contact your local councillors to lobby them on this policy – to find out who your local councillor is, follow this link: https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx
If you have any questions about the HMO Overprovision policy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org