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Powers to evict anti-social tenants set to be beefed up

Propertymark has welcomed proposed reforms to evict tenants who show persistent anti-social behaviour.  

In 2018, a Northern Ireland Department of Justice consultation to examine the criminal legislative framework regarding anti-social behaviour was conducted, which was then followed by a public consultation, which ran until last week. 

The Department of Justice’s ambition is to impose legislative reforms by collaborating with the Department for Communities to address Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, public drinking, anti-social behaviour injunctions, and absolute grounds for possession. 


Propertymark was invited to respond to the consultations as member agents have often found evidence gathering difficult. As a result local communities continue to be affected by tenants guilty of anti-social behaviour who are left to reside in their properties.  

The professional body stated that implementing absolute grounds for possession and expanding the definition of anti-social behaviour to include extra provisions around housing is a welcome move, which ensures the legislation is line with England and Wales - but there are still significant issues in those two countries when evicting anti-social tenants.  

According to Propertymark, the Northern Ireland government has a chance to address these issues by ensuring that landlords and agents possess local authority guidance on what should be considered as anti-social behaviour so that they can start the eviction process knowing that eviction cases will not be dismissed in court and to guarantee that tenants who are not guilty regarding anti-social behaviour are not falsely accused by landlords or agents.  

The professional body also believes that there should be more support for local police forces with agents and landlords so they can accumulate evidence they need to ensure that cases against tenants are effective and can deliver an eviction. 

This could also be accompanied by the possibility of a specialist housing court to help boost the speed in which evictions can happen and so that judgements can be more consistent.  

There should be safeguards for tenants if positive requirements are implemented to guarantee that tenants who have reformed their behaviour are not evicted, Propertymark states.  

Finally, regulating letting agents will enhance the ability for agents to resolve disputes, make more knowledgeable choices on what is considered to be anti-social behaviour, and to more effectively assist landlords through the eviction process through qualification and ongoing training and development. 

If Stormont’s proposals are successfully implemented, then there would be changes to legislation that would alter both the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 and the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 to be more consistent with the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.  

Henry Griffith, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Propertymark, says: "Propertymark supports an amendment to clarify the definition of anti-social behaviour and the introduction of an absolute ground for possession. However, as we have seen elsewhere in the UK, evicting tenants who are engaging in anti-social behaviour can be difficult. 

“These challenges will need to be addressed as the proposed legislative changes bring Northern Ireland on par with the rest of the UK. 

“Nonetheless, this is a positive move that provides landlords and agents in Northern Ireland with additional powers to evict tenants who are convicted of anti-social behaviour. Propertymark hopes both Departments will listen to our solutions to address the difficulties of evicting these tenants in England and Wales, as part of a long-term solution."

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    • S S
    • 13 March 2024 09:31 AM

    The problem is that how do you remove tenants that are not convicted of ASB? It takes an awful lot of evidence to prove ASB , letting agents have no legal powers, all they can do is invite neighbours to complain to the Police but often neighbours do not want to do that. We had a situation where a neighbour constantly complained about every tenant we put into a property - including a 60yr old female librarian who listened to classical music (apparently too loud) - council did not agree. The neighbour just didn't like living next to a rental property even though it was a rental property for 20 years before she bought next door.
    As a letting agent, we have no power to prove ASB, unless it is really serious and even then proving and convicting can take years - so there's no quick fix.


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