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Agent fails to secure renewal of landlord’s licence in controversial case

An agent’s plea to councillors to renew the HMO license for a landlord client fell on deaf ears in a controversial case.

Belfast council’s licensing committee has decided not to renew a landlord’s licence for a student house on the grounds of anti social behaviour - the first time in six years that the authority has used this power.

The committee heard representations from the city’s Fetherston Clements agency, which said its client “surpasses the requirements to be classified as a fit and proper person” and added that the council had been satisfied that the property reached all HMO requirements after the last inspection.


She said the property was “well maintained” and there were no complaints from a neighbouring property which shares a driveway. 

She said the agency endorsed the landlord’s so-called ‘anti-social behaviour plan’ which  involved “pre-tenancy checks, a tenancy agreement, intervention if incidents occur, and prevention of further incidents”.

The agent said: “The current tenants have felt harassed by the number of complaints, including those about playing musical instruments before 11pm. They believe the noise is not excessive when they socialise in the property.”

The agent acknowledged there was an incident in January involving the council noise team reporting audible noise from the property and admitted that “with hindsight … perhaps final year students would be a proper fit for the property”.

Another neighbour of the property - in south Belfast - claimed there has been problems of anti-social behaviour since 2016.

HMOs in principle have become highly contentious in Belfast with critics arguing they have negatively affected family-centric communities and led to anti-social behaviour.


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