House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Best Practice Guide 2023

Closed 10 Aug 2023

Opened 18 May 2023

Results updated 19 Dec 2023

The Regulatory Committee agreed the recommendations in a report which was presented on 2 October 2023.  Read the report and recommendations.


On 28 October 2021, the City of Edinburgh Council agreed a motion by Councillor Neil Ross on Raising HMO Standards. The motion relates to specific areas of HMO Licensing in the city. In particular, the motion referred to the following issues:

  • The issue of application notices to residents;
  • The issue of emergency contact details to residents: and
  • The problem of fly-tipping and/or abuse of residential waste facilities by contractors employed by landlords or agents

As a result of the motion being agreed, on 6 February 2023 the Council’s Regulatory Committee agreed that a public consultation should take place on the terms of a proposed Best Practice Guide for HMO licence holders and agents.

Why your views matter

The measures set out in the proposed guide has been developed as an additional tool for HMO licence holders to help improve standards in the sector. It seeks to address issues such as:

  • Refuse Disposal
  • Property Maintenance
  • Repairs; and
  • Impact on Neighbours

We would like to know your thoughts on the proposed Best Practice Guide and the results will be presented to the Regulatory Committee for consideration later this year.

More Information

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Best Practice Guide for HMO licence holders and Agents in Edinburgh

The following guide for the holders of HMO licences in Edinburgh was approved by the City of Edinburgh Council’s (“the Council) Regulatory Committee at its meeting on 6 February 2023 for consultation.

Failure to follow this best practice guide may be relevant to the Licensing Sub-Committee’s consideration of whether a landlord or agent is, or continues to be, a fit and proper person to be authorised to permit persons to occupy any living accommodation as an HMO in terms of section 130 and/or section 139 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.

The following requirements set out the practices that the Council considers to demonstrate best practice by HMO licence holders and their agents:

General Refuse Disposal

The Licence Holder should provide tenants, no later than two days from the commencement date of the Tenancy Management Agreement, with an information leaflet on how to dispose of refuse and bulk items (including general and recyclable refuse and any furniture) properly and appropriately from the licensed property.

The Licence Holder should ensure that tenants are aware how to use the refuse facilities at the property and in the communal surrounding areas of the property appropriately.

Maintenance, Insurance and Repairs of Common Areas

The Licence Holder should act reasonably in relation to the payment of their share of all maintenance costs, insurance costs and repair costs of areas in common areas relative to the property and in all dealings with other co-owners and any relevant factor.

The Licence Holder should ensure that any undisputed invoice or notification of their share of maintenance costs, insurance costs and repair costs received in respect of common areas relative to the property is paid in full without unreasonable delay and in adherence to the payment terms stipulated.

The Licence Holder should ensure that all common areas are regularly inspected and any defects brought to the attention of the other owners and any relevant factor.

Those who have HMO licences for tenement property should give due regard to the Shared Repairs Tenement Toolkit.

Bulk Refuse

The Licence Holder must make arrangements with the Council or another collecting contractor for the uplift of any bulk items and/or refuse, including furniture, from the licensed property, prior to the Licence Holder presenting the items for collection.

The licence holder should ensure that tenants are advised likewise to make arrangements for uplift of such items from the licensed property prior to the tenants presenting items for collection.

Bulk refuse should only be presented immediately outside the property on the date for collection specified by the Council or other collecting contractor. Due regard should be given to the information on bulk uplifts on the Council's website.

Neighbouring Residents

The Licence Holder must act reasonably in relation to the management of the licensed property in respect of any dealings with neighbouring residents of the property.

The Licence Holder should take reasonable steps to investigate any complaint made by residents of neighbouring properties relating to the behaviour of the Licence Holder’s tenants or their visitors, at or in the immediate vicinity of the licensed living accommodation.

Statutory Notices

The Licence Holder should respond appropriately and timeously to any statutory notices served on them under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 and any other relevant legislation, including the Environmental Protection Act 1990, in relation to the licensed property and the communal areas surrounding the property.

Property Inspections

The Licence Holder should ensure that the property is available for inspection at the time an application is made. In circumstances where the licence holder has failed to make the property available for inspection on two separate occasions, officers will refer the application to the Licensing Sub-Committee for consideration. This will lead to a shorter licence period of 6 months being recommended by officers to the Committee for their determination.

What happens next

Responses will be reviewed and a report will be presented to a future meeting of the Regulatory Committee for consideration.


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