Students in Nottingham arriving for the new university term have been reminded not to throw parties which impact on their neighbours.
In previous years, Nottingham City Council’s Community Protection officers have dealt with numerous late-night house parties, mostly in student households, where unacceptable levels of noise and anti-social behaviour caused a serious nuisance to local residents throughout the night.
While recognising that the vast majority of students make an economic, cultural and civic contribution to the city, and acknowledging that it is often a minority having a negative impact, the council is once again working with both universities to try to make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities.
Any type of anti-social behaviour, whether generated by a student or non-student household, is unacceptable. Large-scale house parties can impact on the quality of life of those living nearby, including loss of sleep, impact on work and a child’s education being harmed.
Community Protection has a variety of powers around anti-social behaviour. In the past, warnings have been used to tackle the number of large-scale parties being held or the associated issues.
But officers have more robust powers available to them, which can include applications to the county court for civil injunctions against individual tenants or residents found to be causing harassment, alarm or distress, or nuisance and annoyance. Breach of a civil injunction is a contempt of court for which a custodial sentence is available in the most extreme circumstances.
Furthermore, Community Protection can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a Closure Order for any property where its use has resulted in serious nuisance to members of the public. Magistrates have the power to close a property for a period of up to three months, preventing access to all individuals including those who live at that address.
Breach of a Closure Order is a criminal offence which, again, could result in a custodial sentence.
Anti-social behaviour within rented properties is also likely to be in breach of tenancy. Community Protection will notify landlords of rented properties about any anti-social behaviour taking place within their properties and this may result in them taking action to terminate that tenancy.
While not wanting to spoil their university experience, the City Council is urging students not to hold or attend large-scale, disruptive house parties in a residential area. Many of the powers above carry serious personal consequences.
Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection at Nottingham City Council, said: “We have two world-class universities here and students make a valuable contribution to our city. They help boost the economy by millions of pounds every year and the vast majority cause no issues at all.
“However there is often a small proportion involved in large-scale parties, which have a significant impact on the lives of other residents.
“We are working closely with the universities and landlords to get the message across to students that they have a responsibility to the communities in which they live to be good neighbours.
“We don’t want to be killjoys and we understand that socialising is an important part of student life, but we have a duty to all residents and will always take action when anti-social behaviour is having a detrimental effect on people’s lives.
“We simply ask students to remember that their neighbours will include the elderly and vulnerable, workers resting ahead of early-morning starts, and families with young children. It’s worth being mindful that today’s students will be tomorrow’s workers and parents – please be respectful of that.”
Both universities have backed the no-nonsense approach to anti-social behaviour, while also repeating a commitment to fund additional Community Protection patrols.
A spokesperson for Nottingham Trent University said: “We know that students make an enormous contribution to our city and that any complaints will always relate to a minority. We want to ensure our students are responsible and valued members of the community and take active steps to promote this.
“We support Nottingham City Council in its efforts to reduce noise and nuisance behaviour; working with them to create stronger neighbourhoods and continuing to fund additional patrols in the local area.”
A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham said: “We are incredibly proud of our students, many of whom make an active and positive contribution to the city economically, through volunteering activities, and simply by being good neighbours. But is important that as members of the community, our students respect their neighbours and do not risk that reputation.”
Any residents who are suffering as a result of repeated noise nuisance should report the matter to the Police via 101 number or to the City Council on 0115 915 2020 (during office hours).