From 31 August 2011 licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) operates under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, part 5.
An HMO (Houses in Multiple occupation) licence is required for the operation of living accommodation as an HMO. The application for a licence must be made by the owner of the living accommodation. Living accommodation is an HMO within the meaning of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 if it is:
The purpose of HMO licensing is to achieve and maintain high standards of service in this part of the private rented sector by ensuring that the HMO owner or their agent is a fit and proper person, and ensure the suitability of accommodation.
Before it formally considers an HMO application, the local authority has the discretionary power to refuse to consider it, if it considers that occupation of the accommodation as an HMO would be a breach of planning control.
In considering the application the local authority has to satisfy itself:
If the authority is not so satisfied, the authority must refuse to grant the licence.
The authority must also satisfy itself:
If the authority is not so satisfied, the authority has no power to grant the licence.
The authority may refuse to grant an HMO licence if it considers that there is, or that the grant of the licence would result in, overprovision of HMOs in the locality.
The local authority sets the standards required and also sets the fees charged for a licence application. If you have questions about HMO licensing in your area, please contact your local authority.
Scottish Ministers have issued guidance to local authorities (PDF version). Guidance is also available on the transitional arrangements between the previous regime under The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and the regime under Part 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.
HMOs are now covered by fire safety legislation. Visit the FireLaw website for more information.