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Government reveals scale of tenant anti-social behaviour

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. 

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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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    1 in 3 landlords evict a tenant because of antisocial behavior, their figures. And they wonder why section 21 is used. Speaks volumes about our leaders.

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    I just do not believe it will be easy to prove in court. Bearing in mind 50% Of Landlords in uk own between one and two properties I believe many will go through this costly process then decide bcoz they are more exposed its not worth the risk and sell up

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    I think you are absolutely right, Catherine.

     
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    Dream on if you believe the government are going to make it easier to evict tenants! Currently ground 14 eviction for antisocial behaviour requires no notice yet ground 7 criminal behaviour, requires 14 days notice. Now both grounds are proposed to be two weeks so no benefit to landlords there. As for speeding up the court process, I can’t see it happening unless the government set a maximum hearing time of say two weeks and we start operating courts 24/7 or better, remove the requirements to have a court hearing, unless the tenant puts in the defence. In other words, automatic eviction after two weeks notice, and the bailiffs can be instructed. This would save enormous amount of court time as less than half the tenants turn up for the court hearing.

    What the government have missed out in their proposals is speeding up the Bailiffs service, the biggest delay in evicting Tenants. In my area it take at least two months for the bailiff to attend. There is no reason why bailiffs should not be able to operate within 48 hours as high court bailiffs used to be able to.

    What does concern me about these proposals is its typical off the lack of joined up, thinking by government. It is done, purely for political expediency without any concern for both landlords and tenants. I have evicted thousands of tenants in the 32 years I’ve been a landlord, over 350, using the court system with 100% success, always for rent arrears. I believe going to court is a sign of failure,. I find antisocial behaviour and non-payment of rent goes hand in hand and it is I believe easier to evict for rent arrears. I’ve even written a manual for other landlords on how to legally, easily, quickly and cheaply evict tenants for rent arrears.

    The problem is what does society do with all these antisocial and nonpaying tenants? The government say they are trying to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness, all this will do is increase the amount of homeless and rough sleepers.

    Nearly every one of my antisocial tenants is mentally ill. Their behaviour is not rational. I am well aware I am evicting vulnerable sick people but that is all I can do under the current system. I have tried approaching the council for help and the antisocial department are unable to help. They just go on about keeping evidence and Evict instead of dealing with the problem. What we need is a joined up approach where these vulnerable tenants can be quickly and seamlessly transferred to the social sector who are equipped to deal with tenants like this and paid enormous sums of money to house such troubled tenants.

    With one local authority, Sandwell MBC, my eviction rate for nonpayment of rent has dropped drastically because they have brought in what is called “Call before you Serve”where the council, instead of telling the tenants not to pay the rent and wait until the bailiff attend and they will re-house them, now have a serious conversation with the tenants and tell them they will not be rehoused if they make themselves intentionally homeless by not paying the rent. As I have said, that one thing has drastically reduced my evictions in Sandwell.

    The answer is simple, get the councils to stop trying to damage the private sector by encouraging tenants not to pay rent and do their job and re-house problem tenants which they are given enormous of sums of money to help instead of cherry, picking the best or least problematic tenants for subsidised housing and dumping the problem tenants on the private sector.

    Jim HaliburtonTheHMODaddy

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    Very well said.

    Especially "The problem is what does society do with all these antisocial and nonpaying tenants?"

    Even if they're evicted from your property they are still the same anti social problem who will move on to blight another neighbourhood.

     
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    Well it's stressful for landlords and neighbours. Problem is it's not easy for landlords to take action. And all that happens is the problem eventually gets moved to a new landlord and different neighbours.

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    I don't like the change. S21 means you just give notice. There's nothing better than that. Having to provide evidence? What sort of evidence. How much evidence is needed? Seems like nothing is changing. Okay you don't need a conviction. That's a big step down. But is it far enough? If there's a loud party or shouting and the neighbours are to terrified to say anything?

    No I'll keep S21 thanks.

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    How do you get evidence, neighbours will complain, but they won't put their complaint in writing, they won't complain to police or councils, without sec 21 how are we going to evict them ?

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    It will all be verbal Andy. It's fine. We can enter the 'he said, she said phase' and then go to the Council / log in to our new lovely portal and write 5-10 sentences saying there's been X, Y and Z anti-social behaviour at my property. Neighbour X says so too but won't put it in writing. Press the submit button and it will say 'Hey Presto'. Bailiffs will be at your property it 14 days removing the sh!t out of your property. Don't be so cynical!

     
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    Nick

    How do I get some of the stuff you've just taken?

     
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    Robert, you can either go to a place called Dream World, or you need to go to deprived areas that sell Crystal Meth. Then it will all be all right. It’s getting to the stage that being a tenant is more preferable than being the landlord. Other countries wouldn’t put up with this nonsense so why should we? In Russia they just say “get out” or change the locks.

     
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    Nick

    I might have been in those places previously- can't quite remember!

     
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    I don’t go along with this anti- social neighbour thing either.
    Did they say one in four ? that’s over 2m who’s going to believe a lie like that, it’s a small minority.
    I currently don’t have any complaints about any my Tenants from neighbours.
    The crooked Government is now pushing this a spin off of getting rid of Section 21 where landlords can’t evict and get a Court Order for Tenants to be turning up at Council Offices demanding to be housed.
    This is the real reason for Government getting rid of Section 21, not landlords take the blinkers off.
    The White Paper is a big White Lie, fairer Renting the have driven Rents through the Roof to cover the costs of over Regulation they have imposed.
    No wonder there’s a Tsunami of landlords making a run for it using Section 21 before it goes before their property rights disappear into thin air.

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    Michael - it was quite cleverly worded: "over one in four social housing residents had been affected by anti-social behaviour in the past year". The antisocial behaviour of one person may affect 100 people in the neighborhood. Remove that one antisocial person and instantly improve the lives of 100 people.

    Then it says: "One in three (PRS) landlords who have ended a tenancy report that they did so because their tenant engaged in antisocial behaviour."
    That figure surprises me. I thought the narrative was we evicted people because they had mentioned a repair needed doing, we wanted to charge someone else far more rent, we wanted to sell, there were rent arrears or because we were generally evil people. Now it turns out in a third of cases it's because the tenants are terrorising their neighbours with ASB. I guess that paints us in a somewhat better light and indicates we actually care about the communities our properties are located in.

     
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    Daily Mail Headline today: "Are landlords planning to exit buy-to-let en masse? We asked them"

    It says "Alleyne isn't alone in her positive outlook. In the latest private landlord survey, commissioned by the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, nearly 70 per cent of landlords said that if a property of theirs became vacant they would re-let it, rather than selling or leaving it empty." Mmmm a survey commissioned by the Department of Levelling Down to be trusted??

    "'I know everything in the news is saying it is absolute chaos but as long as you are managing it right, it's not,' adds Ash, a landlord who owns multiple Midlands-based properties - both residential and commercial." 'As long as you get a little bit of a heads up [on the regulatory changes] and you can change things in accordance and it's fine.' They were at the National Landlord Investment show so a lot of newbies there... Why not stand outside McDonalds and ask the people going in for dietary advice?

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    Could be a lot of us are staying because the CGT is too high for us to contemplate leaving. Any of us who have owned properties for 20 years+ in the South would be facing CGT bills of around £100K per property if we sold. Effectively the government would be stealing 2 bedrooms per property sold. Without indexation relief we simply aren't going to sell.

     
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    Good observations Nick.
    And even if one believes the 70% DLUHC figure, that still leaves 30% who wouldn't re-let. Which is a large %.
    Also, if say those 30% of landlords tend to own more properties per person than the 70%
    (though we know most landlords own only one or two properties, possibly as part of their pension) then 30% of landlords could equate to a lot more than 30% of properties not being re-let.

    Two days ago the BBC reported on Zoopla figures saying:
    "Large numbers of landlords are leaving the market - 11% of homes for sale on Zoopla were previously rented."
    I'd believe the BBC and Zoopla, rather than the biased Daily Mail; who are hiding a significant problem by saying it is not "en masse". At least if the BBC get something wrong, as they sometimes do, they tend to bleat about themselves and their mistakes on air. Newspapers instead tend to hide away any apologies for mistakes. BBC Radio 4 even airs a complaints programme about itself.

     
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    The rot with all this ‘anti social behaviour’ narrative set in when the notion of ‘individual responsibility for behaviour’ was cancelled in favour of ‘requiring others to deal with it and its consequences’. Worse, the new narrative effectively exempted the police, courts and other authorities from doing anything effective. Landlords were required to ‘deal with it’ which of course they couldn’t.
    The offender is the ‘individual’, not the landlord, not the victims, therefore this is a matter of civic & social cohesion and intervention should be the responsibility of the police, courts and other public authorities. Landlords should have never been involved, much less blamed for the ineffectiveness of the proper authorities.
    Managing ASB is firstly the responsibility ‘ the individual’ and secondly the remedy must fall to ‘the statutory powers’. End of!

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    Jo Westlake:
    Spot on, and now we have rumours of a further rise in CGT!
    The Gov may well panic into a further CGT hike in an attempt to head off landlords leaving.
    We are moving ever closer to a Gov sanctioned effective ‘sequestration of property’.

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    The big problem with extortionate CGT is it leaves us with no viable exit route. Why would new landlords enter the industry if they perceive it to be a life sentence?
    The whole point of taper relief used to be that it incentivised landlords to own properties long term and provide stable long-term homes to tenants, while enabling them to retire at some point.

     
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    I think many landlords are interested in the immediate capital gains tax bill, not in taper relief. There are a very large number of landlords who will not be prepared to let to tenants on an indefinite periodic tenancy once the new legislation is in force.

    Governments should learn that you can't achieve anything by compulsion or manipulation.

     
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    Jo

    Your idea of remortgaging to avoid cgt and reduce eventual iht by giving the released funds to your heirs earlier is probably the best option for most landlords over 50. The money borrowed will cost between 2 and 5% probably, save 28% immediately and a potential 40% later. The one downside is you have to remain invested in the prs or short term rental markets but the yields should be greater than the highest likely interest rates and increase over time with inflation.

    I'm still staying in the prs at 73, and that's in Scotland where the SNP and their little Green helpers are doing their best to destroy our prs.

     
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    I'm one of those Ellie. The government are sequestrating property here. We don't build enough homes. The problems get worse every year. Whether owner-occupier or renter there's less available. They are happy to look like they are helping renters now even though they know it will hurt them later. They can buy their votes now and say we did things. On the other hand properties fall into the hands of traditional Tory voters and perhaps make them happy. Although not when evicted whilst saving up.

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    You are absolutely right, Nick, and the Government collects an enormous amount of tax already from landlords in the private rental sector. The inheritance tax bill can be enormous, as can capital gains tax bills.

    There comes a point when people will assess that it is time to sell everything.

    It is difficult to figure out who will vote Tory in the next election. They have lost many of their traditional supporters and the floating voter is much worse off now than they have been in the past.

    The housing policies of Welsh Labour were fairer than those in the Renters Reform legislation, but the Tories in the Levelling Up department, strongly influenced by Shelter, have moved the rental policies so far to the left that we may have to ensure that we sell before Labour takes power in the country as a whole.

     
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    Exactly Ellie. I think Theresa started the rot with having ex-Shelter head of policy in her housing department. The stupidity! Now all the lefties are right Tory policies. I can see no hope.

    More worryingly is S21 going and then being locked in as a landlord. I don't trust the Tories and Labour even less.

     
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