Following a review of houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) by Glasgow City Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee, stricter rules will come into effect to help reduce the impact that HMOs can have on local communities.

Areas of concerns linked to HMOs

A number of concerns associated with HMOs in Glasgow and in particular in the neighbourhoods with high concentration of this type of rental property, has been raised in a public consultation, mainly:

  • High levels of refuse (with a surge in bulk waste being dumped in back courts and lanes at the end of the academic year)
  • Repairs and maintenance to common parts of property
  • Dealing with neighbour complaints


Councillor Alex Wilson, Chair of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, said: “Indiscriminate dumping of rubbish, refusing to pull your weight with the cost of repairs, failing to get a grip with noisy or anti-social tenants – these are the issues that upset other residents. By creating conditions of licence that focus on the issues of concern we are setting out very clearly the standards we expect of our HMO landlords. The conditions will help to ensure we can take a more robust approach with licence holders who do not meet expected standards.”

These new conditions for HMOs will cover: general refuse; maintenance, insurance and repairs of common areas; bulk refuse; neighbouring residents and statutory notices. They will be incorporated into a new code of conduct and apply to all HMO landlords.

Better management of HMOs

The purpose of HMO licensing is to protect public safety and therefore striking a balance between the needs of residents, HMO tenants and landlords is paramount. While there might be strong feelings about how HMOs operate in Glasgow, it’s important to remember they provide “homes of a reliable standard for people who cannot otherwise afford to live independently.” Since there is no legal basis for a cap on the number of HMOs in the city, a better management is the way forward.

Councillor Wilson said: “The advice we have received means there is not a legally defensible way to limit how many HMOs there are in Glasgow as there is a continuing need for this kind of accommodation. So focusing on what really bothers people about the way property is managed is the way to deal with this.”