Can Edinburgh Council ban Wooden floors in my HMO?Make Text Bigger
I’ve had a 5 double bedroom double upper Georgian property in Leith which I bought and renovated 12 years ago. I’ve rented it out room by room (mainly to overseas visitors) and had very few problems.
All the bedrooms have birchwood floors and the lounge and hallways are carpeted. The Scottish Office published a Guide for Landlords with HMO properties and suggested that due to noise disturbance to neighbours below from hardwood floors “it may be helpful to lay carpets rather than wooden flooring” due to the number of complaints from neighbours living below students.
Only Edinburgh and Dundee councils in Scotland have seen fit to enforce this on all HMO properties in their cities but recently have allowed exemptions if there is a proven track record of no complaints and a letter stating there’s no noise disturbance is signed by all the neighbours below over 16.
I wrote a letter to Edinburgh HMO dept last year stating that there have been no complaints about noise disturbance from the floors (only 2 bedrooms are affected) in the last 12 years. I don’t take students (apart from the occasional mature student), the floors are better for those with allergies (something which seems to be on the increase), and I also provide memory foam mattresses. The lounge area (carpeted) with kitchen off is more than big enough to cope with parties but my tenants being professionals in their 20s and 30s were more likely to have dinner parties instead.
I received a reply saying the policy was under review and I assume that during this time the exemption option was decided upon.
My problem now is a matter of principle that I’m willing to argue in Court. Why should I inconvenience my neighbour with paperwork as well as becoming indebted to him/them when there’s never been any complaint about the flooring?
The letter states that signing doesn’t negate any rights to complain in the future so to me this seems to be an added and unnecessary obstacle for the Landlord. Does Edinburgh council have the right to interpret a “Guide” as being a statutory requirement for HMO’s only? Especially as they’re in the minority in Scotland. This sets a precedent for “guilty until proven innocent” which I believe is the opposite approach in Law.
I’m not condoning noise disturbance not being addressed when and where it happens and I would be more than happy to address it at my property, if and when it happens. I did get a complaint from the neighbour about 8 years ago about the tenants (French at the time) having parties mid week and playing music loudly into the early hours of the morning with the windows wide open. I sorted it immediately and not by nailing the windows shut either!
Does anyone have any advice or am I just being “anti-authority”?
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