Landlords of 'party flats' in line for Asbos
LANDLORDS of Edinburgh's "party flats" could be served with Asbos under new plans to crack down on trouble sparked by visiting stag and hen groups.
Edinburgh Central Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said the Scottish Government had agreed to consider changing the law to make it easier for councils to tackle the problem.
Residents plagued by drunken revellers causing a disturbance in the early hours have long been campaigning for action.
The existing law allows tenants in short-term and holiday lets to be served with anti-social behaviour orders, but because stag and hen groups are only in town for the weekend, it is not seen as a practical way to deal with the problem.
Ms Boyack said she had held a "very constructive" meeting with communities minister Alex Neil on the issue and was now optimistic about progress on the issue.
She said: "The minister has agreed to examine options which would mean amending the Anti-Social Behaviour Act to extend the capacity of serving notices not just to tenants but to landlords and owners of short-term and holiday lets.
"The suggestion is councils could have the power to require landlords to do certain things such as a limit on numbers, noise insulation and so on, and they would have to have enforcement powers and a backstop to enable them to serve a stop notice if there was persistent non-compliance with orders."
Mr Neil said: "I am sympathetic to any resident who has to put up with anti-social behaviour linked to a party flat.
"I am grateful for Ms Boyack's input on ideas to tackle this issue and this government will consider legislative change where this can make a difference."
The meeting between Ms Boyack and Mr Neil came after yet another incident a few weeks ago when police and an ambulance were called to a flat in Grove Street, near Haymarket.
Neighbour Stan Player, who has petitioned the Scottish Parliament for action to deal with party flats, said: "We got wakened at 4am with a lot of noise and shouting. I phoned the police about 5am, then it was just getting worse and worse so I phoned again at 6am.
"Then at 6.30am all hell let loose. It sounded like a fight, people bashing against doors and it seemed to be happening in the stair.
"An ambulance arrived, there was someone in the stairs screaming in real agony, then there were lots of police cars. We believe there was a woman seriously assaulted."
Mr Player welcomed the move to allow landlords to be served with Asbos as a step forward. "That would be a help," he said.
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