27 Mar 23

Landlords are to be given more powers to evict unruly tenants who ruin neighbours’ lives through persistent noise or by being drunk and disorderly.

Although details are missing in the government’s statement, this would appear to be one of the few recent policy decisions to support the wishes of landlord trade bodies.

These have expressed concern that with the abolition of Section 21 – still expected as part of the Rental Reform Bill later this year – landlords would have difficulties evicting anti social tenants in HMOs in particular.

Commenting on the announcement, Ben Beadle – chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association – says: “Anti-social tenants blight the lives of fellow renters and their neighbours.  Plans to end ‘no explanation’ repossessions risk making it harder to tackle such behaviour.

“Whilst we will study the detail of the Government’s plans carefully, we welcome its commitment to strengthen the ability of landlords to evict unruly tenants. It follows extensive campaigning by the NRLA to ensure swift and effective action can be taken against those causing misery in their communities.

“The law must be on the side of the victims of anti-social behaviour and we are glad that the Government agrees.”

Polling by the NRLA has found that 50 per cent of landlords have at some point attempted to repossess a property because of a tenant’s anti-social or criminal behaviour. 

Of this group 84 per cent had received no help in tackling it from their local authority and 75 per cent had no assistance from the police in dealing with anti-social tenants.

The new powers for landlords are part of the government’s so called Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan which claims to offer “a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of anti-social behaviour, and give the police and local authorities the tools they need to tackle the problem.”

Under the plan, 16 areas in England and Wales will be funded to support either new ‘hotspot’ police and enforcement patrols in areas with the highest rates of anti-social behaviour, or trial a new ‘Immediate Justice’ scheme to deliver swift and visible punishments. 

A select few areas will trial both interventions, and both schemes will then be rolled out across England and Wales from 2024.

Hotspot trailblazer areas will see an increase in police presence alongside other uniformed authority figures, such as wardens, in problem areas for anti-social behaviour, including public transport, high streets or parks.

Under the new Immediate Justice scheme, those found committing anti-social behaviour will be made to repair the damage they inflicted on victims and communities, with an ambition for them to start work as soon as 48 hours after their offence so victims know anti-social behaviour is treated seriously and with urgency.

Offenders, who will be made to wear high-vis vests or jumpsuits and work under supervision, could be made to pick up litter, remove graffiti and wash police cars as punishment for their actions, and victims of anti-social behaviour from the local community will be given a say in offenders’ punishments to ensure justice is visible and fits the crime. 

Under the zero-tolerance approach, Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” will also be banned to send a clear message to intimidating gangs, that hang around high streets and children’s parks and litter them with empty canisters, they will not get away with this behaviour.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “Anti-social behaviour erodes local pride, blights our high streets and parks and is a stain on too many communities across the country.

“We know that it is more likely to flourish in areas that have, for too long, been overlooked and undervalued.

“This government was elected on a mandate to deliver change for those communities, and that is why the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan is critical. So we will intervene directly to prevent high street dereliction. 

“We will deliver tougher, quicker and more visible justice to prevent thuggish behaviour in town centres and we will ensure young people have the opportunities and activities available to them to succeed – all backed by new investment.

“This is about acting on the people’s priorities, delivering safer streets so we can level up across the country.”

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