5 July, 16

Anti-social Behaviour

What is anti-social behaviour (ASB)?

In the context of housing, ASB is defined as:

Conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person

Allegations of ASB can be used to obtain civil injunctions, closure orders and orders for possession of property.

Civil ASB Injunctions

These can be applied for by police, local authorities and social housing providers. An ASB injunction can run for a fixed period of time or until further notice.

As well as prohibiting the alleged ASB, an injunction can also ‘require’ something to be done, such as attending awareness classes or mediation. An ASB injunction is a serious measure which can also result in possession proceedings.

We can help by resisting applications for ASB injunctions and can assist with defending against committal proceedings brought for a breach of any existing ASB injunction.

Possession Proceedings

ASB can be relied upon as a ground for possession of property and many tenancy agreements will contain an express provision dealing with illegal and anti-social behaviour. Possession proceedings will almost certainly be considered in the event of an offence being committed in the property, either by the tenant or any person visiting them.

Until recently this was a discretionary ground for possession, meaning that a court would only grant the order for possession if it was reasonable to do so.

However, recent legislation has created 5 new situations in which possession can be sought by landlords on mandatory grounds relating to ASB or offending behaviour. Essentially, mandatory possession can now be applied for:

  • When a tenant or their visitor has been convicted of a serious offence committed in or around the property.
  • Where an ASB injunction has been breached (this includes both the positive and the prohibitive terms of the order).
  • Where a Closure Order has been obtained.

These types of possession claim can only be defended on much more limited grounds. It is anticipated that the new legislation will result in the tactical use of injunctive powers by local authority and social housing landlords.

The grounds for seeking an ASB injunction are broad and the consequences can be severe. It is therefore essential to seek advice at the earliest opportunity.

Please contact us if you are experiencing any of the issues referred to above.

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