The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 20th October, it had considered an application for the renewal of a licence to operate a House in Multiple Occupation at number 12 Curzon Street, which the HMO Unit had recommended for approval.
Having heard from two of the objectors and from the applicant, the Committee had agreed to defer the application until its next meeting to enable officers to obtain up-to-date information on any complaints of noise and/or anti-social behaviour associated with the property and had agreed also that the objectors and the applicant be permitted to submit any relevant information.
It was reported that Mr. S. Byrne and Mr. B. Gardiner-Crehan, the objectors who had attended the meeting on 20th October, were in attendance and they were invited to provide details of any further complaints.
Mr. Byrne drew the Members’ attention to a complaint which he had made to the applicant on the night of Sunday, 30th September. The complaint had related primarily to noise from the slamming of doors. He had informed the applicant that his tenants had kept his family awake on several nights immediately preceding that one and that his family had, on one occasion, been forced to sleep in a relative’s house. Mr. Byrne had suggested to the applicant that he use soft closing fittings as a way of limiting the noise from doors and had been informed by the applicant that he would deal with the matter. Mr. Byrne added that he had made no complaints since that night.
Mr. Gardiner-Crehan confirmed that he could not comment upon Mr. Byrne’s complaint and that he had nothing further to add.
Mr. MacDermott, the applicant’s legal representative, explained that, following Mr. Byrne’s complaint of 30th September, the applicant had met with his tenants to remind them of their responsibilities under the tenancy agreement around limiting noise and respecting their neighbours. He pointed out that this was the first complaint which had been made against these tenants and that the applicant had felt that a warning was sufficient on this occasion. The applicant had also arranged for modifications to be made to the doors of the property to reduce noise nuisance.
Mr. MacDermott went on to state that the objections to this application had been based primarily on the argument that the applicant was not a fit and proper person. He stated that the applicant had dealt responsibly and appropriately with all issues which had been raised in relation to noise nuisance and antisocial behaviour and concluded by pointing out that the HMO Unit had recommended that the licence be renewed.
In relation to a point which had been raised by a Member around the potential for refusing the application on the grounds of the overprovision of Houses in Multiple Occupation in that locality, the HMO Unit Manager confirmed that, under Section 20 of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, the Committee was not permitted, when considering an application for the renewal of a licence, to take issues around overprovision and planning into account.
The Divisional Solicitor endorsed the comments which had been made by the HMO Unit Manager and pointed out that the Committee was required, in considering the application, to satisfy itself that, based upon the evidence provided, the applicant was a fit and proper person.
The Committee then agreed to approve the application for the renewal of a licence to operate a House in Multiple Occupation at number 12 Curzon Street.