Last updated 05/03/2013
Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour
The term “anti-social behaviour” can mean different things to different people. The legal definition contained within the 1996 Housing Act is:
“Any conduct which is capable of causing a nuisance or annoyance to any person, which relates to or affects our housing management functions”.
In our tenancy and licence agreements we give examples of anti social behaviour:
- Harassment or intimidation
- Domestic violence
- Threatening behaviour
- Noise nuisance
This is not an exhaustive list; we can take action against any tenant causing problems by behaving anti-socially. We can also take action against people who aren’t our tenants if they are causing problems in our neighbourhoods. Whatever the circumstances please contact us and we can discuss with you the best way to proceed; our primary aim is to try and stop the anti-social behaviour.
We treat all information in confidence and will not disclose any information provided by you without first getting your consent in accordance with the principles of data protection.
In most cases, we will need to talk to the person that you reported to us for anti-social behaviour. If you ask us not to do this, we may not be able to take your case any further. If you are worried about the repercussions of your report, please tell us.
After a report of anti-social behaviour is made:
- We will make initial contact within one working day (this initial contact is likely to be by phone)
- We will arrange to take full details of your report and agree an action plan with you within five working days
- If the case is urgent we aim to agree the action plan with you within 1 working day
- Where and how we contact you will be your choice (it may be by phone, at the office, at your home or some other mutually suitable place/time)
- We will keep you informed with our progress
- If needed, we provide a comprehensive Witness Support service.
Reports of anti-social behaviour are dealt with in partnership with you, and the initial action plan forms the basis of this partnership. This may include specific actions for us to try (both you and us), in an attempt to resolve the problems you are experiencing.
Some cases may be clear-cut and involve less investigation, e.g. reporting a rubbish filled garden. Other cases, for example, reporting noise nuisance may require further investigation.
We will investigate your report of anti-social behaviour and help you gather evidence. Evidence examples include:
- Diary sheets
- Statements (from you or other witnesses)
- Photographs and information from the police
The evidence collected will determine whether the person causing the nuisance has a case to answer; if so we will take action.
In very serious cases such as those where you are in danger, we may take legal action straight away. Other situations require a step-by-step approach to try to get the person involved to change their behaviour.
We usually need to interview the person carrying out the anti-social behaviour. The action we take will depend upon the type and severity of the anti-social behaviour.
As a landlord there are a number of different ‘tools’ available to us, these include:
- Warning letters
- Interviews with the person causing the problem
- Use of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (a written agreement signed by the person causing the problems)
- Court injunctions
- Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs)
- Possession Proceedings
Talking with your neighbour and discussing the problems is often the most successful way of resolving disputes and misunderstandings. We understand that this could be difficult so we offer a free mediation service.
The mediators we use are trained to work with disputes and they don’t take sides; their role is to find a solution that everyone can live with. If you want to know more, or are interested in using this service, please contact us.
We can apply to the county court for an order against someone which tells them not to do something (eg, not to cause a nuisance by playing loud music or not to use threatening behaviour). We need evidence of the anti social behaviour before we can apply for these, as we need to show the Judge what the problem is and how it is affecting people. Evidence is usually in the form of a witness statement which has details of the complaints, including dates, times and a description of what happened on that date.
We may consider applying for an injunction in cases where someone has been violent, or has threatened violence or in cases or where someone continues to cause a nuisance despite being asked to stop. In serious cases we can obtain these orders at very short notice. We can apply for these against our tenants and also against people who are not tenants (as long as they are 18 years or over)
If someone breaks (breaches) the terms of an injunction it is important that we are notified straight away. If the breach is minor or a technical breach (such as entering an area where they have been banned from) we may decide to remind the person causing the problem about the injunction and advise them of the possible consequences.
However, if it is a serious breach or the person continues to cause a nuisance despite the reminder, then we will consider applying to the Court for committal. The Judge makes a decision on sentencing, but the person causing problem could be sent to prison(for a maximum of 2 years).
We can consider applying to the court for possession of someone's property in cases where they have caused serious or persistent nuisance. Judges consider whether it is "reasonable" to give possession back to the landlord based on the evidence available to them. They also have the power to "suspend" or "postpone" a possession order. This means that they may grant a possession order, but it cannot be enforced unless there are further problems.
A hate crime is any incident motivated by prejudice or hate on the grounds of:
- Sexual orientation
- Ethnic origin
We operate a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards hate behaviour and fully investigate hate incidents that are reported to us. We will treat every incident as serious, act quickly and support you fully to make sure you feel safe in your home and neighbourhood.
We monitor our service by asking for feedback, e.g. surveys. Your views enable us to assess our effectiveness and improve the service we provide to you our customers.
We have also signed up to the Respect Agenda.
We work closely with other partners and agencies, local residents and communities to help prevent and deal with nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
- Developing ‘Good Neighbour Agreements’ with local residents
- Working with local communities on activities to include young people
- Working with residents on clean-up days and other community events
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Updated by Elesh Makwana on 05/03/2013 15:14:07
Comment: Added new chapter 'Legal Action'Details: (show)
Chapter titled "Emergency Situations" order changed from "6" to "7".
Chapter titled "Hate Incidents" order changed from "7" to "8".
Chapter titled "Monitoring the Service" order changed from "8" to "9".
Chapter titled "Working with Partners" order changed from "9" to "10".
New Chapter added; title:"Legal Action" image:"" order:"6".
Updated by Athanasios Protopapas on 21/03/2012 08:31:52
Comment: Changed the reference from 'Complaint' to 'Report of anti-social behaviour' to distinguish the two different information articles.Details: (show)
Chapter titled "Confidentiality" content changed.
Chapter titled "Action Plans" content changed.
Chapter titled "Dealing with a Complaint" content changed.