HMO ban in conservation area set to be extended for a further two years

The existing ban on new HMO applications in the conservation area of St. Andrews has been extended for a further two years.

Councillors chose to implement the controversial ban in 2011 in an attempt to redress the population demographic in the town centre following a study which suggested only 15% of properties in this area were occupied by permanent residents.

There are a number of criticisms levied at this latest decision:

  1. There is a lack of evidence to suggest how successful the scheme has been, with many arguing the proportion of permanent residents remains unchanged.
  2. The ban only affects larger properties in the town centre (i.e. those with 3+ bedrooms), where the vast majority of properties are 1-2 bedroom (which are unaffected). 
3. Buy to let investors have turned their attention to properties outwith the conservation zone, which has led to an increased number of objections from neighbours in these areas – areas which have a far higher proportion of permanent residents.