Glasgow residents evacuated from “dangerous buildings” with one hour’s notice

Glasgow residents evacuated from “dangerous buildings” they called home were given no prior warning by the city council, it has been revealed.
Picture: John DevlinPicture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin

Members of Hillhead’s Area Partnership were shocked to hear that the council could evacuate homeowners as well as tenants renting a property across the city if building control felt it necessary, without giving more than one hour’s warning.

The revelation has been branded “unacceptable” and one councillor has said this shouldn’t be happening under HMO (house in multiple occupancy) legislation.

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Concerns were previously raised about the wellbeing of tenants in HMO properties after a group of West End students were put out on the streets by their landlord following the removal of the flat’s HMO licence.

Members of the Hillhead Area Partnership then called for the HMO scheme to be reviewed and for a member of the licensing committee to provide more information on the health and safety of tenants.

During a meeting on Tuesday morning, it was confirmed that no advance notice is given when it comes to a “dangerous building” and that a number of buildings have had to be evacuated across the city over the last two years.

Green group councillor Martha Wardrop said: “The health and safety issue has been raised quite a lot over the last few months which is quite a worrying situation for tenants.

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“There are questions about the procedure, in terms of protecting tenant rights and giving people notice, given that people have just been told to leave their property.”

Licensing officer Duncan Thompson confirmed that over the past couple of years there have been a number of buildings evacuated across the city.

He said: “Most of them are not HMO licence holders. Everyone gets the same notice. If the building is dangerous, they have to leave.

“They are perhaps given an hour to collect their personal effects but they have to move out.”

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Members agreed this shouldn’t be allowed to happen and lessons need to be learned to prevent these evacuations in the future.

Councillor Martha Wardrop said: “If a building does have an HMO and has previously been given a warning by the council, we shouldn’t get to this point.

“Can we learn some lessons from this experience. This is unacceptable and shouldn’t be happening under the HMO legislation.

“It’s there to protect tenants surely.”

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