Application for HMO licence
156.Section 129 and schedule 4 describe the procedure for applying for an HMO licence. The schedule specifies the information to be contained in an application for a licence. It provides a detailed description of the requirement to give public notification of an application, including provisions to limit notification where it could put people at risk, for example for women’s refuges. It sets out how people can make written representations about the application, the local authority’s powers to make inquiries about the application, and the applicant’s right to see and respond to written representations and the local authority’s report on any inquiries it has made. The applicant and others may also be invited to make representations about the application at a hearing. In considering the application, the authority must take into account valid written representations, the report of its own inquiries, written responses from the applicant and oral representations at the hearing. It may consider late written representations if satisfied that it was reasonable for the deadline for representations to be exceeded.
157.The authority must decide whether to grant or refuse an application within 12 months of its receipt. It may apply to the sheriff for an extension to this period. If a decision is not made within the requisite period, the licence is granted unconditionally.
158.Under section 130, the authority must refuse an application if the applicant or their agent is disqualified by court order from holding an HMO licence or the authority considers either of them to be not a fit and proper person. The factors to which the local authority must have regard in determining whether the applicant and agent are “fit and proper” are as in the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004. Where an applicant or agent is not an individual, these tests apply to any director, partner or other person involved in the management of the company, trust or organisation.
159.Section 131 states that an authority may only grant a licence if the accommodation is suitable for use as an HMO or could be made so by including conditions in the licence. The criteria that an authority must consider are given.
160.Section 132 prevents an authority from considering an application from the same applicant for the same accommodation, or for any accommodation if refusal was on the grounds of the applicant not being a fit and proper person, within a year of refusal of an application. This restriction does not apply if the local authority is satisfied that there has been a material change of circumstances, for example if a physical feature which made the property unsuitable for licensing has been altered.