Neighbours beg MSPs for crackdown on party flats

Share this article

RESIDENTS plagued by party revellers have launched a petition pleading for a crackdown on flats let out for stag and hen weekends.

They say their lives are being made a misery by the noisy, drunken behaviour of large groups who party through the night and urinate in the stairs.

And they want the landlords who rake in up to 600 a night from the party flats to be brought under strict controls.

The petition submitted to the Scottish Parliament calls for landlords who offer short-term lets to be registered and subjected to the same noise, safety and environmental standards as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as student flats.

Retired college lecturer Stan Player, 78, said two flats in Grove Street, where he has lived for the past 42 years, are regularly let out for stag and hen weekends.

He said: "Every weekend we live in fear. Groups of 12-16 turn up at these two flats on either side of the street. You see them taking in crates of beer. They are completely unsupervised. They just go in and do what they like.

"We have noise when they arrive, noise when they go out and sometimes until 3 or 4am. When they come back in the middle of the night they can't get in, so they bang on the door and shout.

"I never approach them. If I started saying something, they're liable to floor me."

Mr Player said he had decided to take a petition to parliament after the situation became "intolerable". He said: "If an HMO comes up, we can complain about it and they can lose their licence, but these landlords can do anything they like and we have no say."

Another neighbour in Grove Street, who asked not to be named, said one of the flats in the street was let out to stag and hen parties for about 600 a night. He said: "For the last three years, every Friday and Saturday it is stuffed with 14 or 16 people who urinate in the stairwell and cause a disturbance. They have been sold the deal as a stag or hen party and they are out to have fun.

"And because it's not an official HMO or a B&B, it falls between two stools and the landlord is not subject to any legislation. He is essentially above the law.

"We want the law changed so these people are subject to the law as everyone else is."

Edinburgh Central Labour MSP Sarah Boyack, who is backing the petition, said party flats caused a great deal of distress to local communities and also damaged Edinburgh's reputation as a leading tourist destination.

She said: "Companies are taking advantage of loopholes in the HMO legislation to offer short-term lets to revellers without any respect for the health and safety of clients or the local community.

"There is currently no way of ensuring that landlords offering these lets take responsibility for their tenants."

The Scottish Government said councils could take action against antisocial behaviour caused by stag and hen parties under noise nuisance powers.