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What does the law require?

You need a licence from the local authority to operate a House in Multiple Occupation, known as an HMO. An HMO is a residence let to three or more people belonging to two or more families as their main residence. For this purpose residential accommodation includes a house or flat, or part of residential premises where the occupiers share basic amenities (i.e. toilet, washing and cooking facilities).

HMOs are regulated by the Housing Scotland Act 2006 (Part 5). Guidance on the standards applying to HMOs can be found at Scottish Government website.

What do I need to consider?

You must have the relevant planning permission to use the residence as an HMO and it must comply with relevant technical standards for an HMO. We will attach conditions to your licence relating to safety and technical standards that are to be maintained.

How will you deal with my application?

An Application is made by the Owner of the property or their Agent by completing the prescribed Application form and submitting it to us. 
 
You, (The Applicant) must display a 'Notice of HMO Application' 'on or near' the Property for a period of 21 days from the date of application, informing the public of how to submit objections to the proposed HMO Licence. If your application is deemed non-contentious and the HMO meets the required standards, we should be able to grant your licence without referring the decision to the Licensing Committee. 'Non-contentious' means any application which has not resulted in any objections, or representations of a serious nature, and where is no conflict with council policy. Contentious applications will be determined by the Licensing Board.

We will attach conditions to any licence we grant and we may take action to ensure that you comply with those conditions.

When will a decision be made?

We aim to make a decision on your application within 90 calendar days. This assumes that your application is not contentious. Your application will take longer to process if it becomes contentious (for example, if we receive objections or representations or you have failed to meet a relevant statutory standard) and if that is the case we will keep you informed of the revised timescale.

What happens if you don't make a decision within the target time?

If you have still not received a decision after the target time has expired, your authorisation is granted automatically. However that will not apply if your application involves complex issues and we have notified you of an extension to the target time. If we need to do that, we will let you know in good time and we will give reasons.

We must make a decision within 12 months of receiving an application for a licence. The 12 month period allows time for applicants to make physical changes to their property if necessary to meet the HMO licensing standard. If a decision has not been made after a 12 month period has expired, your authorisation is granted automatically without condition.  

Please note that you must not carry on the activity for which you have applied for a licence unless or until you have been granted a licence.

What can I do if I'm not satisfied?

If you are unhappy with decision to refuse to grant you an HMO licence, you can appeal to the Sheriff within 28 days of the refusal decision.

How does the Council handle objections and representations?

Find out more about objections and representations.