Malcolm raises issues of antisocial behaviour in Edinburgh North & Leith
Short term lets and antisocial behaviour in Edinburgh Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has considered the various options for regulation of houses in multiple occupation with particular reference to addressing the problem of antisocial behaviour in short-term lets. (S3O-6716)

The Minister for Housing and Communities (Alex Neil):
Houses in multiple occupation are required to be licensed primarily to ensure that they meet standards that are designed to protect their residents from the risks of that type of accommodation. We have stated that we will discuss with stakeholders the possibility of including short-term lets in HMO licensing, to extend the protection. However, it would not be appropriate to extend HMO licensing to any category of accommodation solely to address antisocial behaviour.

Malcolm Chisholm:
As the minister will know, I wrote to him a few weeks ago asking him to consider various options for dealing with antisocial behaviour in short-term lets. Why will he not bring such lets into the HMO licensing regime so that action can be taken when there is a persistent problem, as with the stag and hen weekends at Western Harbour in my constituency? Over and above that, why will the Scottish Government not consider modifying by order part 7 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 to ensure that antisocial behaviour notices can be served on the landlords of such properties?

Alex Neil:
I have two points. First, we will discuss with stakeholders the possibility of extending HMO provision to short-term lets. Secondly, I want to make a clear distinction between short-term lets and holiday lets. Based on advice from the City of Edinburgh Council, we believe that the kind of incident to which Mr Chisholm refers is primarily related to people who are in holiday lets, not short-term lets.
April 30th 2009, (Column 16981-2) Stag and Hen nights in the Western Harbour Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
I emphasise to the minister how serious the problem is in developments such as Western Harbour in my constituency, where a large number of stag and hen weekends are based. The people who are trying to impose the law are telling us that there is a problem with the legislation, so will the minister undertake at least to examine the problem and to consider options to address it? It is an increasing problem, and it came up at the local community council last night.

The Minister for Housing and Communities (Alex Neil):
As I have said, there are already provisions for dealing with antisocial behaviour and related matters, but I am happy to listen to any further evidence. So far, we have not received any evidence to demonstrate that a specific law relating to holiday lets would make any material difference.
April 2nd 2009, (Column 16482)