Beef Up Anti-Social Behaviour Powers, Government Urged

Private landlords should be allowed to apply for demotion orders ending a tenancy which deem a tenant ‘capable of causing’ rather than ‘likely to cause’ a nuisance, according to the NRLA.

It has written to housing minister Felicity Buchan reiterating its calls for the government to clamp down on anti-social behaviour in the PRS and believes the orders – currently used in the social sector – would be a good start.

Private landlords need to be able to repossess a property with certainty and where possible, without exposing other tenants to potential repercussions, says the NRLA. Social housing providers have powers to demote a secure tenancy where the tenant has been engaged in behaviour capable of causing a nuisance, rather than likely to cause a nuisance. The victims do not need to be named, which can be a particular problem in HMOs.

Clearer guidance The NRLA says the threshold of being capable of causing a nuisance is lower, allowing for clearer guidance on what constitutes anti-social or nuisance behaviour. The courts must still consider whether it would be proportionate to grant a possession order.

Chief executive Ben Beadle believes the government’s existing plans to tackle ASB do not go far enough. In the letter, he adds that the government must also require the courts to prioritise possession cases in instances of anti-social behaviour, produce statutory guidance on low-level anti-social behaviour and the circumstances in which it is reasonable to grant possession and require local authority and police action on anti-social behaviour to be recorded on the Property Portal.

Landlord Action’s Paul Shamplina says landlords don’t have faith in the Section 8 discretionary grounds. “Anything that will make landlords’ life easier in gaining possession from anti-social tenants is a must, especially with Section 21 being abolished,” he tells LandlordZONE. “There should be a mandatory ground for anti-social behaviour – the biggest problem when evicting tenants is neighbours’ and co-tenants’ fear of violence and intimidation.”

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