MSP bid for council power to shut down city's party flats

COUNCILS should have the power to shut down party flats rented out by the night if they are a nuisance to residents, a Glasgow MSP said.

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Concerns have been raised over flats which are for short-term let, making life a misery for the permanent residents in the same building.

City Labour MSP Drew Smith has called on the Scottish Government to give powers to local councils to take action.

Currently the police can stop them being rented out, but Mr Smith said that could take time and police resources away from other issues.

He said a better solution would be to allow councils to act under anti-social behaviour legislation.

The flats in question are let out for one night or a weekend and are often used for parties or stag and hen nights, but are in develop-ments where there are people living, having to put up with noise and anti-social behaviour most weekends.

Mr Smith said: "The police can issue a closure notice for up to three months but the test that applies is too high as it is the same for evicting anti-social tenants from their home.

"I would like to see that lowered and for the power to be extended to councils.

"If this behaviour was going on in social housing or a short-assured tenancy it would be dealt with.

"The problem is these flats are being used on a commercial basis and not for housing need."

Four years ago residents in Balvicar Street, on the South Side, complained they were being forced from their homes as flats were rented for parties. Internet travel sites have many people looking for "party flats" in Glasgow.

Many end up in short-term rents in large city centre apartment developments, where residents also live permanently, some of which say the policy is not to accept bookings for parties, stag or hen groups.

Mr Smith's call for an amendment to the Housing Bill was rejected by Housing Minister Margaret Burgess at the infrastructure and local government committee in the Scottish Parliament.

However, he said he will attempt to resurrect the issue when it returns for its final hearing at stage three before the full parliament.

He said: "The minister said she was satisfied with the current legislation, but my constituents are not satisfied otherwise I wouldn't be getting complaints."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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