Glasgow City Council has refused to renew HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) licences for the University’s largest student halls, Murano Street Student Village. The University have taken the decision to appeal.
New students will still be allowed to move into Murano, which has a total of 1163 bedrooms, this September whilst the appeal process takes place. The University had applied to have the accommodation’s 166 HMO licenses renewed. The Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee decided to disallow renewal of these licences after consultation with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on Wednesday 7th August.
Murano had been reviewed in February 2013 by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, at which point sixteen problems with the safety of the accommodation had been identified. Issues included electrical appliances in the laundry and kitchen units being badly scorched, fire doors needing attention and students cooking in bedrooms.
The University, who manage the accommodation with Sanctuary Housing Association, were informed of these problems. In May, officials from the fire service returned to check if they had been resolved.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were not satisfied with the changes made and a report to the Licensing and Regulatory committee states: “A considerable amount of work was still outstanding. Completion date for works could not be confirmed as work was substantial.”
The committee decided that the HMO licences would not be renewed until these problems were fully addressed.
An HMO licence must be granted by the council if there are 3 or more unrelated tenants living in a property. The legislation ensures that accommodation is safe and habitable for tenants and covers fire safety among other requirements.
Murano has been HMO registered since October 1992 and HMO licences have always been renewed without issue.
Neil Campbell, Director of Residential Services for Glasgow University, expressed his disappointment with the decision. He stated: “Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our tenants and there are no unacceptable risks or fire hazards at Murano Street Village.”
Campbell continued: “The buildings are exactly the same as the buildings that were approved by the council 20 years ago. There have also been a large number of additional improvements since then.”
He emphasised that the University had made an ‘action plan’ to fix the identified problems but noted that ‘there must be a reasonable time frame for this.’
The university has 28 days to lodge an appeal and then the council has 10 days to make a verdict.
All other Glasgow University student accommodation has HMO licenses for the coming year.