Anti social behaviour includes a range of problems, noisy neighbours, abandoned cars, vandalism, graffiti, litter, youth nuisance and abuse consisting of threats or violence. It creates an environment in which crime can take hold and it can wreck people’s everyday lives.
The majority of NLMHA tenants live happily alongside their neighbours and NLMHA actively encourages people to form local associations who can work together to bring about positive changes in their neighbourhoods. We are aware, however, that there are times when tenants behave in an anti social way or cause harassment. NLMHA is committed to dealing with this as we expect all tenants to be shown consideration and respect to their neighbours.
Anti Social Behaviour Orders protect the public from behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Breach of an order is a criminal offence.
ASBOs are court orders applied for by local authorities, police forces (including the British Transport Police) and by registered social landlords. They cannot applied for by members of the public, but people do get involved by collecting evidence and helping to monitor breaches.
An order stops offenders from specific anti social acts or entering defined areas, and is effective for a minimum of two years. For example, an ASBO may prohibit an offender from associating with other named people or from going near a house where they have caused problems.
An Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) is an agreement between a person who has been involved in Anti Social Behaviour and one or more local agencies whose role it is to prevent such behaviour (such as the police). The contract will list the anti social acts in which the person has been involved and which they have agreed not to continue.
Legal action in form of an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) or a house possession order (if the young person is in social housing) for breach of the contract provides an incentive to ensure that the contract is adhered to.
Local authorities have increased powers to deal with anti social behaviour under this act, for example, stronger powers to tackle fly-tipping, graffiti and fly posting.
In addition to increased legislation, the government has published an action plan to tackle anti social behaviour. The action plan can be found on the Home Office website.
According to the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003, there are a range of powers to enable social landlords such as NLMHA to tackle the problem of anti social behaviour. ‘Demoted Tenancies’ were introduced by part 2 of the ASB Act and enables Associations to place a tenant on probation for a period of one year.
If a tenant misbehaves, or allows a member of his or her household or visitor to do so, NLMHA can apply to the Court for a demotion order. ‘The demotion order has the effect of terminating the existing secure or assured tenancy from the date of the order, and if the tenant remains in occupation following the order, a new tenancy is created with reduced security of tenure’.
The court must be satisfied that the tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or visitor has behaved or threatened to behave anti- socially or used the premises for unlawful purposes and that it is reasonable to make the order.
If a tenant continues to misbehave, the landlord can serve a notice and begin the second stage of the process and commence possession proceedings. If the claim is successful, the tenancy will come to an end.
Recently a Housing Association evicted a tenant following complaints from residents about abusive and threatening behaviour. The tenants were encouraged to keep nuisance diaries and incident reports that were passed on to the police. Evidence of harassment of neighbours, property damage and threats of violence to neighbours were also recorded.
In this case the tenant was evicted because they ignored the warnings by the association and they failed to comply with the terms of tenancy agreement. On these grounds together with evidence from the other residents the Housing Association were able to evict the tenant and get a court order to ensure he/she would not go near or contact the Housing Association or residents.
Last updated: 22-01-2010