A Houses With Multiple Occupancy, HMO, moratorium in St Andrews town centre is set to be extended again due to a delay in reviewing its impact.
A lack of evidence in the first review in 2013 meant Fife Council officers were unable to conclude what the impact the ban on new houses had been.
The moratorium was extended to June 2016 to allow further research, but councillors heard this has yet to begin.
As they agreed that the executive committee should permit a further extension for a year, the north-east Fife area committee voiced concern about HMO “drift”.
They also demanded the research be conducted quickly so a solution can be found for the problem which has contributed to a lack of affordable family housing in the town.
The majority of houses and flats in the town centre are HMOs let to students but since the moratorium was adopted in 2011, more HMOs have appeared in areas such as Lamond Drive.
St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson said: “This is a massive issue for St Andrews which has lots of implications, particularly on affordability of housing for local people.
“HMOs are being displaced out of the town centre into areas which used to provide plentiful family accommodation.”
He welcomed the recent announcement of investment of £70 million by St Andrews University to create a further 900 bed spaces, which he said should help ease the demand for HMOs.
Fellow town councillor Dorothea Morrison said only 15% of town centre residents were permanent, adding: “We do need to try to preserve that 15%.”
The review had been delayed for confirmation that money was available for it and for appointment of a consultant, the committee heard.
It was also revealed to the body that since 2013 there had been a number of legislative and economic changes affecting housing markets and it was only now that sufficient time had passed to allow the impact of these changes and of the moratorium to be fully assessed.