Government action plan to crack down on anti-social behaviour welcomed by the industry

The Government has announced an action plan which will give landlords more powers to evict anti-social tenants and more powers to the police to target perpetrators with swift and visible justice in England and Wales.

Related topics:  Landlords,  Government,  Evictions
Property | Reporter
29th March 2023
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"It is encouraging to see the UK Government acknowledge that there is an issue with anti-social behaviour within communities"

16 areas will be funded to support either new ‘hotspot’ police and enforcement patrols or trial a new ‘Immediate Justice’ scheme. A select few areas will trial both interventions and following the initial trailblazers, both schemes will be rolled out in 2024.

A new reporting tool will also be developed over the next twelve months to act as a digital one-stop shop where people can quickly and easily report incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Under the zero-tolerance approach, nitrous oxide or ‘laughing gas’ will also be banned. The drug is now the third most used among 16 to 24-year-olds in England and both the police and the public have repeatedly reported links between the use of the drug and nuisance or anti-social behaviour.

Renters’ Reform

The UK Government’s plan to reform the private rented sector outlines tougher enforcement on nuisance tenants, and Propertymark has long campaigned for striking the right balance between protecting tenants from unfair evictions whilst allowing landlords to take possession of their property in reasonable circumstances.

Faster grounds for possession

The Action plan highlights that sustained acts of intimidating or disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated and should lead to the eviction of the tenant involved. The UK Government will be changing laws and arming landlords with tools to ensure that anti-social tenants will face consequences including making the grounds for possession faster and easier to prove.

Clarity for letting agents and landlords needed

Whilst Propertymark is pleased that the UK Government is responding to its calls for better enforcement of anti-social behaviour, the industry body says that it needs to see clarity on how the measures will work in practice and when the new legislation will be in effect, as until then landlords will continue to struggle to evict nuisance tenants.

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, comments: "It is encouraging to see the UK Government acknowledge that there is an issue with anti-social behaviour within communities and after calling for reform we are pleased to see the Action Plan include measures to speed up the eviction process and support landlords and agents to gather evidence.

"Given the lack of capacity in the existing court system, we reiterate our call for a dedicated housing court to ensure better access to justice for landlords and tenants. A key element is ensuring that tenant behaviour can be better evidenced in court and the cases of most concern are prioritised."

Government announcement follows extensive campaigning by the NRLA

Polling by the NRLA has found that 50% 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.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, commented on the announcement: “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 strengthening 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.”

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