‘Nightmare’ tenants kicked out of Bruntsfield flat after ‘catalogue of complaints’

Five tenants are set to be turfed out of a flat after a “catalogue of complaints” to police and council officials led to a licence for a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) being refused.

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 9:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 9:45 pm
The aftermath of a party.

The city council’s licensing sub-committee unanimously refused an application from Norrby Investments Limited to renew its HMO licence for five tenants at a flat in 125 Warrender Park Road in Bruntsfield.

The licence expired in February due to an administrative error and the council has been taking enforcement action against the company, meaning the tenants have been under no obligation to pay rent. Without a HMO licence, there can be no more than two tenants staying in the private rented flat.

Councillors heard a string of noise complaints from neighbours which included police visits and allegations that items were thrown at noise officers from a third-storey window. Neighbours also told the committee that the tenants refused to engage because “they were hungover and tired” and the company could not be contacted because it was not on the official landlord register.

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Neighbour Chloe Noble said: “It has been a nightmare since the moment they moved in, in September last year. I personally went upstairs at 4am several times to tell them to turn off the music. We tried to sort this out as neighbours.”

She added: “We’ve had fire alarms going off because they were smoking. I went upstairs but they said it was inconvenient to speak to us at that point because they were hungover and tired.”

Ms Noble’s flatmate, Tom Jones, told councillors that the tenants have urinated in the close and that “there’s no respite”.

Elizabeth Wedmore from HMO Scotland Ltd, speaking on behalf of Norrby Investments Limited, said the 
tenants had been warned on the telephone and in writing about noise complaints.

She added: “We impressed upon the tenants the importance of noise complaints not continuing and wrote to them. Since then, in an effort to make things more pleasant for the neighbours, we have put carpet down.”

Police were called on October 6 last year to a “large scale party” and then again two weeks later to reports that “a party was out of hand”.

Officers received further calls in November 2018, before two calls in January of this year over loud music and voices. Police also confirmed that the company only made an application to join the landlord register in November 2018.

Licensing convener, Cllr Catherine Fullerton labelled the evidence a “catalogue of complaints”. She added: “My concern is that you say you don’t want the problems to continue but they have continued after a police visit.

“I have a real issue with you keeping the same tenants in this property.”

Cllr Lezley Marion Cameron added: “I’m concerned the objectors can’t find you on the landlord register. Do you think it’s acceptable for these people to put up with the kind of circumstances they have described to us? It’s going to take a bit more than a new carpet.”