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Greenwich couple fear landlord’s eviction is ‘punishment’ for noise complaints

A couple renting a flat in Greenwich believe their landlord is evicting them as a “punishment” for filing a series of noise complaints.

Olivia Shaw and Lewis Mackinnon live together in a first-floor flat above a busy restaurant and bar on Creek Road.

They were told by their landlord on August 8 that they will have to move out of the flat by October 17.

The notice was given less than a week after Ms Shaw sent a request to Greenwich Council to review the licence for the bar downstairs, Vaxine, which the landlord also owns.

At a Licensing Sub-Committee meeting for Greenwich Council on Tuesday morning, Ms Shaw said: “Six days after I lodged a licence review for Vaxine, Lewis and I were contacted by the agent Lifestyle Property to say that unfortunately we were being served with a section 21 notice, where the landlord requires our property back.”

Ms Shaw said in the meeting that an agent later told the couple, on behalf of the landlord, that the sole reasoning behind the eviction was that a family member wished to use the premises, as it was one of only two furnished flats in the building.

She said: “It is my understanding that no other flats in the building have been served with this notice, we are the only flat who has been asked to leave.” 

Ms Shaw requested the licence review of Vaxine after hearing “loud bass music” while in her and Mr Mackinnon’s flat since May, when the restaurant opened.

Multiple complaints from Creek Road and the nearby Bardsley Lane led to a warning notice to the club, which was then breached four times in the months following. 

Ms Shaw admitted that the landlord is in his rights to ask them to leave, as they are not currently in a fixed-term contract at the flat.

She said: “Given the timing though, I was honestly quite shocked about it, and it’s hard not to take the eviction as a punishment for lodging the licence review with the council.” 

“I’m sad to leave our flat in this way. After following appropriate protocols and a formal process, it’s really taken a toll on us,” she said. 

In response to the allegations, solicitor Niall McCann, speaking on behalf of the landlord, said at the meeting: “This is an assured shorthold tenancy on normal contractual terms, and standard notice was given as is given up and down the country a thousand times a day, and it was because a member of the landlord’s family wants to move in and it’s the only two-bedroom furnished flat that’s suitable.

“It is in no way a punishment for bringing review, not at all.”

The current licence for the bar allows music to be played until 11pm on weekday nights and 12:30am on weekends.  

Vaxine have since installed a noise limiter, and replaced their heavy bass speakers with mid-range ones.

Bobby Holder, the licensing agent for the property, said at the meeting: “In general Vaxine is a decent venue, and has been very compliant with everything suggested.” 

Ms Shaw and Mr Mackinnon have lived on Creek Road since May 2021, and have been asked to leave the property by October 17.  

The decision regarding the premises licence for Vaxine Bar and Restaurant will be released by Greenwich Council within five working days.

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