Updated: Sep 18, 2020
(19076) A resident has complained to UoB about a noisy gathering of students at a house in Hampton Road on the evening of June 2, 2020.
This came just five days after he reported a previous series of noise disturbances at the house, which is situated between Abbotsford and Aberdeen Roads. (See earlier report.)
In his latest complaint, the resident, an emergency-services worker, estimated there may have been 20 people at the house. Under the coronavirus regulations it is illegal for any number of people to gather indoors unless they are members of the same household. According to public records (see end note), the house has an HMO licence for 10 tenants.
In an email sent to UoB shortly after 9pm on June 2, the resident said: "For the last hour students after students have been arriving at [xx] Hampton Road yet again. There has to be at least 20 in there now. Drinking and smoking cannabis on the front door step. Music blasting. And more still arrive!"
Another resident has sent the university a photograph showing seven students on the roof of the house earlier the same day. He also commented: "On 5th, 12th, 14th May and this evening, 2nd June, we have been subjected to loud music and shouting from this property."
He added: "At least 7 persons were on the roof of the house apparently flouting social distancing rules."
The coronavirus regulations ban gatherings of more than six people in outdoor spaces, whether public or private. However, there is an exception where "all the persons in the gathering are members of the same household", so the people in the photograph would need to be identified to determine whether there had been a breach of the rules.
A third resident has also complained to UoB about noise from the house, and the roof-top gatherings.
He said that over several weeks there had been "excessive noise at night ... including very loud music, yelling and flash lights as they are holding parties in the backyard on almost a daily basis," accompanied by "in the afternoons, constant presence of people up on the roof, drinking alcohol and doing drugs."
He added: "I doubt all the people who gather together belong to the same household ... which in the current situation puts everyone at risk."
In a follow-up email (to me), he confirmed there had been noise from the house on the evening of June 2, as well as from another property nearby.
The students are now believed to be facing a disciplinary hearing with UoB Pro Vice-Chancellor Sarah Purdy. This is the top level of the disciplinary system, dealing with repeat offences such as noise complaints or other serious matters.
Purdy warned in March that breaches of social-distancing rules would be pursued "to the full extent possible". That could mean fines of up to £800 per tenant and an entry on the students' central university record that could be referred to in references.
Note: To see HMOs on a map, go to https://maps.bristol.gov.uk/pinpoint/, expand the Housing and Property tab on the left, tick the first two categories of Property Licence (Additional and Mandatory) and zoom in to see which properties have HMO licences. Houses shared by five people or more have Mandatory licences; smaller properties, usually flats, have Additional licences under new measures introduced by Bristol City Council last year. Click on an individual icon to see basic details about the property. Information about the licence holder (owner) and managing agent, if any, can be obtained by emailing BCC's Private Housing Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. (You don't need to submit reasons; a simple request will do. The council is required by law to maintain a publicly accessible database of HMOs.)