Posted on Fri 25 Aug 2017 at 16:06 by Lewis Macleod
On Wednesday, Aberdeen City Council met to discuss, amongst other topics, a report on an HMO Overprovision policy following a public consultation on the issue at the start of Summer. This policy proposed a cap of 10% on the number of HMOs within Census Output Areas in the Old Aberdeen, Froghall/Powis/Sunnybank, and Garthdee areas of the city.
In my manifesto I pledged to lobby against limits to HMOs, and over the last few months I have worked hard to ensure the student voice was heard in the city council consultation, provided organisational representations on reports, put forward the student perspective at the Old Aberdeen Community Council, had numerous interviews with local press, and met with councillors to discuss student concerns and lobby against proposals. At the meeting I delivered a deputation outlining why an HMO Overprovision policy would have a negative impact on students’ ability to live affordably within the city, highlighted the positive contribution that students make to the city and local communities, and why a policy would not resolve issues of anti-social behaviour that have arisen from the debate on the issue.
You can watch my deputation here: https://aberdeen.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/302236/start_time/765000
Hundreds of students filled in the consultation, and called strongly (over 96%) for the council to reject an HMO Overprovision policy. With the policy to limit HMOs focussed solely on the three areas in the city directly surrounding the city’s two universities (Old Aberdeen, Froghall/Powis/Sunnybank, and Garthdee) it was clear that the implementation of a policy would disproportionately affect students, and render Aberdeen even more unaffordable a city in which to live. Both AUSA and the University of Aberdeen opposed this policy.
It is great news, then, that the City Council resolved to follow the recommendations of the report and have as such voted to not implement an HMO Overprovision policy at this time! This means that in the areas surrounding the University there will not be an immediate cap on HMOs, ensuring that the amount of more affordable private rental flats and houses available for students to rent will not decrease.
However, the City Council did further resolve to ‘review what options are available to facilitate mixed balanced communities’ and to report back to the council’s Communities, Housing, and Infrastructure Committee (CHI) in January. This could mean another discussion on HMO Overprovision, and we will continue to oppose any move that will have a negative impact on students living in the city.