Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is any behaviour which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household. Examples include, but are not limited to, noise, violence, abuse, threats and use of the property for illegal drugs. Adequate checks prior to letting should minimise the risk of letting to someone who is likely to behave anti-socially and the tenancy agreement should include appropriate clauses about anti-social behaviour. Some local authorities include a licence condition for premises which require a licence under the Housing Act 2004, stating that landlords must take reasonable action to prevent and, where necessary, to remedy anti-social behaviour.
Tenants may be the perpetrator or the victim.
In all cases there is a risk of repercussions and landlords should consider their actions carefully and take advice before acting. Sometimes the police or the local authority may contact the landlord if there is a problem in one of their properties and it is important to try to work with them to resolve the situation.
A range of measures can be used including mediation, Closure Orders, Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and/or eviction, depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the situation. Some councils offer mediation services but all parties have to agree to co-operate for it to work and it tends not to be appropriate in all cases, particularly in circumstances involving drugs or violence.
In cases of noise from the property contact the Environmental Health Department as they may be able to take enforcement action against the perpetrator including prosecution and seizing equipment.
If a landlord is aware of or suspects violence or drug-related activity, seek advice from the local anti-social behaviour team/co-ordinator or the police before acting. They may be able to assist by taking action themselves, for example by making an Anti-Social Behaviour Order on an individual or a Closure Order on the premises where anti-social behaviour is associated with Class A drugs. The latter does not terminate the tenancy but it can last for three to six months, giving an opportunity to terminate the tenancy and stop the perpetrator moving back in. If a tenant is at fault, and it is safe to do so, landlords may wish to discuss the situation with them or write to them.
If evidence of the anti-social behaviour is needed, the police or the anti-social behaviour co-ordinator may be able to help.
It is an offence under section 8 The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 for a person being concerned with the management of any premises to knowingly permit or suffer any of the following activities –
producing a controlled drug
supplying a controlled drug
preparing opium for smoking, or smoking cannabis, cannabis resin or prepared opium.