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Anti-Social Behaviour definition to widen to help agents, landlords

It appears that a “wider range of behaviours” are likely to be taken into account in future when tenants are considered for eviction on grounds of anti-social behaviour.

In a debate hosted by the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee - an all-party group of MPs scrutinising the new Renters Reform Bill - officials from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities explained how judges will be able to consider this “wider range” before using their judicial discretion in ASB eviction cases.

DLUHC deputy director Guy Horsington told the committee: “We’ve heard that landlords find it hard sometimes to evidence anti-social behaviour and therefore by making the change we said we would – that is, to expand it so that it brings in a wider set of behaviours – while maintaining judicial discretion, that should help landlords who are genuinely trying to deal with a problem tenant,.


“We are taking measures to help landlords prove genuine anti-social behaviour that is discretionary, and we’re also maintaining our mandatory ASB grounds when there has been a proven criminal offence.”

There has been no detail given as to the behaviours in question, but at the same Select Committee hearing the Housing Minister Rachel Maclean said her department would provide guidance on what fell within the “wider range” to help judges reach decisions, although she emphasised the final decision would be the judge’s alone.

Meanwhile there are just a few days of the current Parliamentary session remaining - the Commons breaks for the summer recess next Thursday - so it is all but certain that the Second Reading for the Renters Reform Bill will not be heard until at least early September, when MPs return for business.

Even then there may be only a short period before a brief breaks in the Commons for the annual party conferences in late September and early October. 

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    This has been a sticky issue for many years. Regardless of any changes, most perpetrators I have come across are in receipt of Legal Aid, so it’s extremely costly, if it is a discretionary ground then basically forget looking for possession, even with a criminal conviction it needs to be mandatory and use fair judgment rather than ‘the only way to prove antisocial behaviour is if their is a conviction’. Had many possession cases thrown out as the judge would not accept witness statements as evidence! Not fit for purpose!

    • A W
    • 14 July 2023 10:07 AM

    Could not agree more.

    Not only is it extremely difficult (and lengthy) to obtain a conviction for ASB, it has to be a MANDATORY ground for it to mean anything.

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    Due to impending elections the legislation had been held back. Their aren't enough police and jail's so the politicians want the landlords to take the hit.

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    Anti-social behaviour is a bit of a selective and changeable yardstick. For example, in an area with lots of young children, the sound of them having a 'street' water fight, football games or even just playing would not be seen by people living there as anti-social. If one of those families moved to an area populated by retired couples, or child-free couples, the children doing those same activities would be seen as anti-social by the existing occupants.

    So there has to be protection in that it has to be an unrealistic and unreasonable level of noise or behaviour, but at the same time be able to get the property vacant to stop people's homes being impacted by anti-social tenants.

  • Barry X

    It's all very well widening the definitions a bit but that isn't going to solve the fundamental problem that abolishing the s.21 and being forced to rely instead on "an enhanced" (or whatever) s.8 also forces landlords and/or their agents or legal representatives to have to try to *prove* the tenant is at fault, and even if they succeed (which won't be easy) they are still dependant on the whim of a tenant-biased judge not favouring the tenant and giving him or her (I don't like "they" for singular) more time and chances....

    ...or you are trying to get an eviction based on 3 months rental arrears and the tenant tactically pays a token amount of money the day before the hearing you've waited months for (and put a huge amount of work into and probably spent a lot of money on) only to be told by the judge thst the tenant is doing his or her (not "thier") best and the hearing is adjourned (and cannot be resumed for months due to the backlog of cases and our dysfunctional "justice" system)....

    Its all horrible and of course unfair on landlords and anti-business. If a respectable and a responsible landlord wants his or her property back (or maybe "their" if they are a couple or a corporate landlord) then that should be that and two months notice and a s.21 should be enough, or these days the mandatory delay for a currently still thankfully mandatory possession notice. In effect the tenant is *already*getting more than enough notice...

    By the way, "in theory there's no difference between practice and theory - but in practice there is!“....

    In theory "an accellerated" s.8 possession claim should be quicker and more reliable than a s.21 application but in practice the s.8 is highly risky, can take much longer (and when eventually heard the tenant can walk away smirking after convincing the judge to adjourn or even dismiss the claim on any one of numerous grounds)....

    Perhaps while taking away our s.21 “safety net" the government should also make it unlawful for *gymnasts* to use safety nets or crash mats but at the same time introduce regulations to improve the quality and thickness of knee and elbow pads and make it mandatory to wear helmets even though they are clumsy and heavy and hinder the gymnasts performance? Well why not? After all that's the sort of thing they are doing to us in our area of endeavour and (for most of us) competence.


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