The Press Association is reporting, and this will be of interest to all those who take out landlord insurance, that those who rent out property in Scotland for parties to anti-social tenants will face huge fines.
They are known as “party flats” (try getting landlord insurance cover for these!) and by letting these out for people to hold events, could now attract fines of around £5,000.
Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have just approved legislation which means that local authorities will now have the power to take positive action against landlords (owners) who rent out their properties at which anti-social behaviour has been a problem.
The problem is becoming widespread throughout Scotland, especially in Edinburgh, where landlords are renting out their flats for such events as stag and hen parties. This causes a nightmare for neighbouring residents and the Scottish Government was made aware of the problem by public petitions.
Alex Neil, who’s the Scottish Minister for Housing, admitted to members of Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee, that it was the public who raised concerns about the party flats, but confirmed that the new powers contained within the legislation would make those landlords who exploit short-term lets to provide party venues, would be from now on seen be as the “culprits.”
The legislation, which should be noted by all those that take out landlord insurance, is labelled: “The Anti-Social Behaviour Notices (Houses Used for Holiday Purposes) Order 2011.”
It was approved unanimously by the Committee and has at its core, a new list of criteria from which the local authority can issue a behavioural notice for anti social behaviour.
These new criteria include that the property in question has already been let on two previous occasions for a short term and that antisocial behaviour has been reported on two previous occasions.
A fine for such rentals is not necessarily the first step, as landlords would be asked to take appropriate action before financial penalties are levied. This might include a request to limit the number of people visiting the property, on site supervision to be provided, or security improvements instigated.
Alex Neil, Minister for Housing, said:
“Although we expect that this will allow the local authority to tackle persistent anti-social behaviour from party flats, we do not expect it to impose a burden on the vast majority of reputable owners of tourist accommodation which are not associated with anti-social behaviour.”
The MSP for Edinburgh, Sarah Boyack (Labour) welcomed the move to get clarification on the area of short term lets being used as cover for parties and that those living near such properties were undergoing a lot of inconvenience.
It remains to be seen whether landlord insurance policies will be changed to accommodate this growing trend.