Agenda item


            The HMO Unit Manager provided an overview of the application and explained that, as a valid objection had been received, the application must be considered by the Committee, pursuant to the 2016 Act and legal advice.


            He advised that no noise complaints had been received in relation to the property.


            He reported that on the 23rd February 2021, pursuant to Paragraph 9 of Schedule 2 of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, officers had issued a notice of proposed decision to the applicant setting out the terms of the proposed licence.


            He further reported that the notice of proposed decision had stated that the Council proposed to refuse the licence as the Council could not be satisfied that the owner was a fit and proper person, and he referred to the following statement of reasons for refusal:


“The Council may grant a licence only if it is satisfied, in addition to other considerations, that the “…the owner of the living accommodation, and any managing agent of it, are fit and proper persons (see section 10)…” (Section 8(2)(b)).

Section 10 of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (“the 2016 Act”) provides that in deciding whether a person is a fit and proper person, the Council must have regard to (a) the matters mentioned in subsections (4) to (7), and any other matter which the council considers to be relevant.

Following a referral to the NIHMO service an authorised officer called at the property on the 19th October 2020 and spoke to an individual at the front door of the property, that individual confirmed he resided in the property with 3 other unrelated individuals and paid rent to the owner Mr Michael Clarke.

On the 22 October 2020 an evidence of household notice was served on Mr Michael Clarke in accordance with Section 5(2) of the 2016 Act, inviting him to supply to the Council, within the period of 28 days beginning with the date of service of the notice, evidence that the occupants form no more than two households.

On the 26 October 2020 Mr Michael Clarke submitted an application to licence the property.

On the 17 November 2020 a response to the evidence of household notice was received in which Mr Clarke confirmed “that the current occupants of the property do form more than two households“.

Included with the response to the evidence of household notice Mr Michael Clarke indicated that he had applied in August 2019 for, and in, November 2019 a certificate of lawful use or development (CLEUD) was granted. The evidence submitted in support of the application included rental agreements which confirmed that the property had been rented out annually, to at least 3 persons, since August 2014, thereby establishing the lawful use of the property as a HMO.

On the 7 December 2020 an authorised officer from the NIHMO Unit inspected the property and established that the property was occupied as an HMO by 4 individuals who form more than 2 households. The officer further established that rent was being paid by those individuals.

Section 7 of the 2016 Act states that “Every house in multiple occupation (“HMO”) must be licensed under this Act (unless a temporary exemption notice under Section 15 is in effect in respect of it). The property is not licensed as an HMO nor is there a temporary exemption notice in effect in respect of it.

It is clear that the property was let as an HMO from 01 August 2014 until 31 March 2019 without registering it with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (“NIHE”) as an HMO in accordance with the Statutory Registration Scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, the property was let as an HMO from 1 April 2019 until 7 December 2020 without licensing the property as an HMO pursuant to the 2016 Act.


Therein, the Council is satisfied that such matters are relevant in deciding whether Mr Michael Clarke, in his capacity as the owner of the HMO, is a fit and proper person.


Subsequently, the Council cannot be satisfied that Mr Michael Clarke is a fit and proper person, in accordance with Section 8(2)(b) and Section 10 of the 2016 Act.”


            Having taken into account the information presented to Committee, and following representations made on behalf of the Applicant, and hearing from Councillor Gormley as the Objector, the Committee agreed to refuse the application. 


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