Remove the HMO Ban
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"St Andrews students pay highest rents in Scotland" was a newspaper headline last Summer, but students do not need a newspaper to tell us this.
Every student that has experienced private accommodation in St Andrews will complain about three things: high competition, high rent, poor quality.
St Andrews is a small town, and private accommodation is a valuable resource. University accommodation is expanding, but so is the student population, and the desire for private accommodation within the student community remains as strong as ever.
The HMO ban has not worked.
Students have seen rent prices increase exponentially. Competition for private accommodation is more fierce than ever. Landlords are completely apathetic, failing to maintain reasonable quality properties when they know their properties will be leased anyway. Malpractice is rife. Students are encouraged to sign illegal leases. Properties that have failed to obtain a HMO license have had the third or fourth bedrooms locked, with two students covering the additional rent between them. All of this is a result of over-saturation and increased competition.
The HMO ban is directly responsible for taking usable, rentable bedrooms off the market.
The Fife Council commissioned North Star Report shares these findings, and concludes that the HMO ban has completely failed to address the needs of both residents and students.
To maintain the HMO ban, or to expand it across the town, is to completely invalidate the experience and rights of students in St Andrews. We do not want to take over the town. We do not want to force out families. We want affordable, reasonable private accommodation that works for all people in St Andrews.
In the upcoming HMO review, we ask that the HMO ban is removed. Our student representatives will continue to cooperate to find a solution that benefits all. We would welcome more complex legislation that addresses the needs of all community members, but the HMO ban does not address the problems of students in any way, and only exacerbates them. It is unacceptable as a stop-gap, and it is unacceptable to implement housing policies that serve only part of the community.
The HMO ban is not the answer. We ask that you remove it at the upcoming Fife Council Review.
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