HMO prejudicing the sale of my property?

by Readers Question

10:46 AM, 5th October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

HMO prejudicing the sale of my property?

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HMO prejudicing the sale of my property?

I bought my Aberdeen flat March 2014 while working overseas and did not step foot into it until April 2018. During this period the property was being utilised by a friend and her family for the first 2 years followed by 2 years of rental.

Unbeknown to me at the time of purchase the owner of the flat above was in the process of applying for an HMO licence and has had one ever since. The first time I learned about the HMO was from my friend looking after the property. During the 4 years while not living there I had received a few complaints about the tenants living above, but nothing of a serious nature.

Starting my own business brought me back to Aberdeen in 2018 and during this period the HMO has been habited by up to 5 female students. There have been periods of disturbance during birthdays, festive periods, the odd party and boyfriends visiting, staying the night whereby being woken up due to their passionate bedroom activities. There’s been blocked drains – the property was built in 1890 so the drains struggle to cope with up to 5 female students living above. Overall I have always refrained from complaining as students are students. I also maintain the owners garden as it is something I enjoy.

First quarter 2020 I put my business into administration due to the pandemic and decided it was time to put my property up for sale. This however was put off due to the pandemic. September 2nd I put my house on the market and within one week had two interested purchasers prepared to put forward an offer. These offers, unfortunately, were not put forward after the potential purchasers discovered the flat above was in the process of renewing the HMO licence and did not want to live below 5 students.

To my dismay, I spoke with the owner and informed him that I was going to submit an objection for the HMO renewal which
I have done. My objection was treated as a late objection and fortunately accepted and have a hearing scheduled for 10th November.

Since putting forward my objection I have had another potential purchaser withdraw their offer. If I look back the HMO probably should not have been granted in the first place as the property was purposely built for four flats in 1890 and of a unique design. I have spent a lot of money on the interior, new fitted kitchen and bathroom. I bought the property at a time when Aberdeen was booming. Putting it up for sale I have accepted that I will not get out what I have put in. Not working and no income and with no job prospects here I want to relocate but cannot. My property is now worthless because of the HMO and my life and future is in the hands of a licence committee which is nothing but astonishing.

I have submitted three objection letters the last informing of the latest withdrawal. I have been advised that although I have submitted these objections the committee does not have to accept all.

I would appreciate any advice/arguments I can take to the hearing, I don’t feel confident that the licence committee will at all care about my circumstances and will just go ahead and renew the HMO leaving me in limbo.

Trevor


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Comments

Ian Narbeth

11:01 AM, 5th October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Hi Trevor
I am not sure what the position is in Scotland but I would look at the neighbour's lease and see if it restricts the use of the flat to a single household. The lease certainly should have covenants against causing nuisance/disturbance and your lease should have covenants by the landlord to enforce the terms of other leases.

Wini

14:54 PM, 5th October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Can a property end terrace house with HMO licence be let to a family
Will there need to be a change of licence

Smartermind

10:41 AM, 6th October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Wini at 05/10/2020 - 14:54
The fact that the property has a HMO licence won't hinder you letting it to a family. Some councils will probably welcome a house reverting to family use. There is no need to rescind the licence - you could let it run until it lapses or the family leaves.

Smartermind

10:44 AM, 6th October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Trevor, you say you've let your flat out for two years. So your objection against the HMO is purely on the grounds that it is inconvenient to your plans, not because it has tenants - who happen to be students. Why not convert your flat to a HMO since you need a business anyway?

LaLo

18:59 PM, 6th October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

I now always get confused re HMOs these days! I'm looking into buying a self contained flat in a building consisting of 18 flats in total so I will need to research to see if it's part of an HMO!

Jireh Homes

15:22 PM, 10th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Trevor - would you have any evidence from your previous tenants of the ASB aspects from the HMO above? Although may be too late perhaps if able obtain retrospective complaints this may help if the licencing committee willing to accept as scheduled hearing.

Five students in a flat appears excessive, as typically this would imply a conversion from a 4-bed, or a 3-bed with separate lounge and dining rooms.

Although more an objection on the initial application, can you develop any arguments of the suitability of an HMO in your unique building or the local area?


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