Figures contained in the government’s new action plan to tackle anti-social behaviour reveal the depth of the problem amongst tenants.
The plan - heavily trailed in the media earlier this week - says anti-social behaviour by neighbours is “particularly stressful” and quotes a survey conducted by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities last year which found that over one in four social housing residents had been affected by anti-social behaviour in the past year.
Applied across the sector, it would be equivalent to one million households.
It says: “Of those who reported anti-social behaviour to their landlord, 55 per cent were dissatisfied with the outcome and 40 per cent of those affected by anti-social behaviour who did not report it did not do so because they did not think their landlord would do anything about it.”
Then thew report goes on to the private rental sector, citing the English Housing Survey and saying: “One in three landlords who have ended a tenancy report that they did so because their tenant engaged in antisocial behaviour. Nuisance, criminal and abusive behaviour which impacts people at home is both disrespectful and unacceptable.”
The plan goes on to say: “Landlords must be able to act against persistently problematic tenants and relieve innocent parties living nearby. Through this action plan we are strengthening the system – changing laws and arming landlords with the tools to ensure that anti-social tenants face the consequences of their actions.”
And it adds: “Through our reforms for renters, we will make grounds for possession – the legal reasons a landlord can evict a tenant – faster and far easier to prove. This will mean landlords can take immediate action – rather than giving two months’ notice and waiting for the end of a fixed term, as they currently need to when relying on Section 21.”
Specific measures outlined in the plan include:
- ensuring that all private tenancy agreements include clauses specifically banning anti-social behaviour – making it easier for landlords to use the breach of tenancy ground to evict anti-social tenants;
- making the notice period two weeks for all anti-social behaviour eviction grounds as part of reforms for renters. The goverrnment will also ensure that landlords are aware of existing tools – such as injunctions and Criminal Behaviour Orders – to crack down on anti-social tenants;
- planning to expand the discretionary eviction ground, to make anti-social behaviour easier to prove in court: clarifying that any behaviour ‘capable’ of causing ‘nuisance or annoyance’ can lead to eviction;
- speeding up the process of evicting an anti-social tenant by working with courts and the Tribunals Service to explore how to prioritise anti-social behaviour cases in Possession Lists in the courts;
- bringing forward legislation which will set out the principles that judges must consider when making their decision, such as giving weight to the impact on landlords, neighbours, and housemates and whether the tenant has failed to engage with other interventions to manage their behaviour;
- preventing short-term lets importing anti-social behaviour into communities, such as noise problems or drunken and disorderly behaviour. There will be a new registration scheme “giving local authorities the data to easily identify short-term lets in their area. If a let proves problematic, they can take action against guests and owners.” There will be a formal consultation on such a registration scheme shortly; and
- where premises themselves are a source of nuisance, the government will consult on expanding Closure Powers. These currently allow police or council officers to quickly shut down premises that are being used, or likely to be used, to commit nuisance or disorder. “We intend to extend these powers to Housing Providers, making it easier and quicker for them to directly tackle nuisance premises without needed to go through the police or council officers” the plan says.
You can see the full plan here.
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