How to deal with anti-social behaviour in housing?

How to deal with anti-social behaviour in housing?

Anti-social behaviour is behaviour which is capable of causing upset or annoyance to individuals or the wider community. Anti-social behaviour in housing is a common problem that many people experience at some point. Even though individuals who face this problem often feel powerless to deal with it, this article will bring to your attention some of the support on offer and the action you can take.

What can be done to deal with anti-social behaviour in housing?

In order to take action, it is first necessary to ascertain who is responsible for the anti-social behaviour and whether the behaviour is unintentional or deliberate. Secondly you need to establish whether the activity is criminal or not and whether the police should be informed immediately. Thirdly, finding out who is responsible for the area and housing where the perpetrators live, will determine who you can turn to for assistance.

Taking Action Yourself

  • Find out if you have a tenants association in your area. They may be able to intervene, particularly if the behaviour is affecting other people in the locality. To find out more about the tenant associations in the area where you live, please follow this link.
  • If you wish to take legal action, you may start a criminal prosecution in court to have the perpetrator fined or imprisoned.
  • You may also resort to legal action if you wish to have an order imposed to stop the perpetrator continuing with their behaviour and/ or to file for compensation. This would involve filing a civil action in court.

If you are considering taking legal action you will need the help of an experienced adviser, for example, a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.

  • If you do not wish to take legal action but want the behaviour to stop, a mediation scheme might be a good idea.Mediation is usually free and is an informal process in which a neutral third party helps two or more people in a dispute to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

To search for a mediator in your area who could help, visit the Directory of UK Mediation

The Police

Where anti-social behaviour includes criminal activity (violence, drug related activity, racist abuse), the police should be notified immediately. You can find details of your local Police and how to contact them here.

Social Landlords

Social landlords include local housing authorities, councils and housing associations. Unless the problem is a criminal one, then the social landlord should be contacted first. The social landlord is expected to publicise how to go about making a complaint and details should be readily available from the housing office or the landlord’s web-site.

Private Landlords

Private landlords are private individuals or companies who own property that is independent of the local authority or housing associations. Private landlords have the power of the tenancy agreement to tackle anti-social behaviour in their properties and can evict tenants who are found in breach. If a landlord refuses to tackle anti-social behaviour in their property then there are various enforcement measures which can be applied by the local authority. Information on these measures can be found here.

Home Owners

People often think that if a home owner commits anti-social behaviour there is little that can be done to stop it. This is not true as many enforcement mechanisms such as Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs), ASBOs, Parenting Orders/Contracts and injunctions are available regardless of whether the perpetrator is a home owner or not. Follow this link to find out what action you can take in this situation.

Other Support

Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator

Every area of England and Wales also has a local Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator, specifically in place to help tackle local anti-social behaviour. To find out who your local co-ordinator is and to contact them, follow this link.

This article has been published in Issue 5 of Action for Social Integration’s Community Advice E-Newsletter, August 29th 2010
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