Exempt property closed after neighbours complain of noise

Police have secured the closure of a problem property due to anti-social behaviour and noise

A problem property has been closed down by police following complaints from neighbours of anti-social behaviour and noise for over a year.

The house on Hermitage Road in Stockland Green is classed as ‘exempt accommodation’ - which is accommodation used by the Department for Work and Pensions to house people with few other housing options, including prison leavers, rough sleepers, refugees and migrants and those experiencing substance abuse issues.

Between May 2021 and March 2022 police received at least 35 calls from local residents, reporting a catalogue of distressing and upsetting incidents.

What were the neighbours complaining about?

Complaints ranged from spitting, loud arguing and shouting to excessive noise, smoking cannabis and thefts from gardens.

In June last year the trouble escalated at the property when threats were made with knives.

Police arrested two people. Officers in the local Erdington team attempted to resolve the issues, but they continued.

So along with support from Birmingham City Council, they sought a closure order for the property in order to prevent any further anti-social behaviour and to safeguard the local community.

Exempt Housing property on Hermitage Road in Stockland Green closed down

What happens now the closure order is in place?

The closure order, which was granted on Monday (4 April) at Birmingham Magistrates Court, came into effect immediately and will last for three months.

The three residents living in the property were given notice of the closure and offered support and advice on finding alternative housing from trusted housing providers as well as with their current housing provider.

What have police said about the closure order?

Inspector Rachel Darby, from the Erdington neighbourhood team, said: "We’ve been in regular contact with residents in the area for many months and understand just how badly this anti-social behaviour has impacted on their lives.

"We also worked extensively with the residents at the property and the housing provider to try and resolve the situation, before taking the step of going to court.

"Exempt properties are often home to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, and so we’ve been ensuring that those who were living at the house are now provided with suitable alternative accommodation and support.

"It is important that the often complex needs of those living in exempt properties are met by housing providers, so our ongoing work with them also continues."

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, added: “Exempt housing is supposed to offer a safe place to live and provide extra support for those that need our help most.

“In reality, vulnerable tenants have too often been abandoned and neglected as they rapidly realise that support is non-existent and they are at serious risk of becoming victims of crime and criminal exploitation.

“West Midlands Police are working closely with the council on this issue, but it is clear that the government needs to provide a regulatory regime that is fit for purpose as a matter of urgency.”

Birmingham City Council House

What has Birmingham City Council said about the closure order?

Housing Modernisation and Partnership Manager, Guy Chaundy, for Birmingham City Council said: “While there are some good providers of exempt or supported housing, due to the lack of regulation of the sector there are also providers who fall well short of providing the type of housing and support that is needed.

“We are working with government, providers and the police to better regulate the sector including greater enforcement powers so that properties like this one in Stockland Green can be closed down more quickly and easily.”

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