Welcoming new student neighbours
Most students will now have left for their summer break, to be replaced by new student households when the next academic year begins in September. (The University of Bristol's Welcome Week runs from 24 to 28 September.) This gives us two things to think about:
-- The majority of students do not annoy their neighbours and many will respond positively if approached by a resident and asked politely to turn music down, or deal with recycling issues. The chances that we can sort out any problems in a friendly way are improved if we start as we mean to go on, so I urge all residents to try to make contact with their new neighbours at an early opportunity, be welcoming, give some tips as to how problems can be avoided, and maybe exchange phone numbers or email addresses to make contact easier.
-- Joni Lloyd, UoB's Community Liaison Officer, has expressed concern to me that my reports of noise incidents identify the properties involved by street name and house number, and that as new student tenants move into those properties, there's a risk they may be mistakenly assumed to have been responsible for those past incidents. (That is, if visitors to the website read details of a past incident and don't realise that there has been a change in tenancy in the meantime.) I accept there's a legitimate concern here. However, I have rejected the idea of removing house numbers from past reports. Although the students concerned may have moved on, the landlords of those properties remain under scrutiny, in my view, and the cases are not "closed". We will be watching to see if there are further problems at those houses; if there are, then it calls into question whether the houses are being properly managed, and we may want to ask Bristol City Council's Private Housing Team, who enforce the HMO licensing regime, to get involved. As an alternative to removing house numbers, I am looking at some form of labelling to indicate to readers of noise reports that the people responsible may since have left the property. This is one of the things I will try to implement as I tweak the design and layout of the website in coming weeks. Until then, please bear this point in mind if you're looking back at a past noise event.