Two years’ noise nuisance leads to closure order on Croydon private rented flat

Monday, June 15th, 2015 -

Two years’ continuous noise nuisance making life unbearable for a neighbour undergoing chemotherapy, has ended with a three-month closure order on an Upper Norwood flat.

On Wednesday 3 June 2015, Croydon Magistrates ordered the Sylvan Road premises closed after hearing of failed attempts by council officers and the police to bring about an amicable agreement between the landlord, tenants and neighbours.

The court heard that in September 2013, the residents of a neighbouring flat made the first of a number of calls to the police, complaining about the level of noise coming from the flat. Failed attempts at mediation saw the police contact the council for assistance, leading to the signing of an agreement by all parties in February 2014.

The agreement, however, was quickly breached and further complaints were made to the council, documenting continuing noise nuisance.

In July 2014, Bianca Adrianna Vitan and Bogdan Bulte took a tenancy of the flat, but the previous tenants made regular visits to the property and further noise was documented.

The following winter, one of the neighbours was diagnosed with cancer, undergoing intensive chemotherapy. The tenants responded to a request to quieten the loud music, in order to give the neighbour much-needed respite. However, when it appeared the neighbour had recovered, the noise resumed leading to the issue of a noise-abatement notice in February 2015 along with arrests by the police for harassment and obstruction.

The following month, nearing breaking point, the neighbours approached the council, seeking effective intervention. The history of continued nuisance led the council to decide to take formal action.

Repeated requests to meet the landlord and tenants were ignored, and four days before a premises closure order hearing, the landlord told the council that notice to quit by 20 May had been served on the tenants.

After the tenants’ failed to leave and the noise nuisance continued, a further closure notice was served on 1 June 2015. The following day, the landlord claimed that new tenants had moved in; a claim refuted by the neighbours.

Checks revealed that the new tenancy agreement was made out in the name Ms Adrianna Vitan. In court, Ms Bianca Adrianna Vitan confirmed that the new agreement was, in fact, hers, and that she had signed a tenancy for a further year.

The landlord did not attend court, nor did he oppose the application.

Commenting on the case, Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice said:

This might not have been the usual type of premises-closure case, concerned with alcohol or drug abuse.

This case was, from the outside, one of low-level nuisance. However, it was having such a devastating impact on the neighbours that flipping our focus, from behaviour to impact, meant seeing quite clearly that the test for the closure application could, in our opinion, be met.

This case will set a new precedent in Croydon, showing victims and perpetrators of nuisance and antisocial behaviour that we will tackle the problem effectively, and where landlords decide not to intervene and assist in the prevention of nuisance and ASB, we may act independently and seek, where appropriate, all costs incurred by us.