This briefing paper outlines the legal position and potential remedies available where people find themselves living next door to tenants of private landlords or owner-occupiers who exhibit anti-social behaviour (ASB). The briefing focuses on the legal position in England.
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It can sometimes be difficult for people living next to anti-social private tenants or owner-occupiers to resolve the problem; for example, private landlords may prefer not tackle their anti-social tenants and it is not possible for neighbours to seek eviction orders against owner-occupiers. As a rule, private landlords are not responsible for the anti-social behaviour of their tenants.
Victims of ASB should report their circumstances to the local Community Safety Partnership and seek professional legal advice on any remedies that might be applicable in their individual circumstances. What amounts to an appropriate remedy will depend on the precise circumstances involved; the victims of ASB often need to keep detailed records of their experiences, particularly if legal action is envisaged.
Local authority and police powers
Local authorities and the police have extensive powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, together with other legislation, to tackle different types of ASB. These powers range from abatement orders to deal with noise nuisance, to injunctions excluding tenants/owner-occupiers from their homes in cases involving violence or a significant risk of harm. The Home Office published statutory guidance for local authorities on the powers introduced by the 2014 Act in July 2014 – this guidance was updated in August 2019.
Private landlords can take action to evict anti-social tenants although eviction is generally regarded as a last resort.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published Rogue landlord enforcement: guidance for local authorities in April 2109.
Although this paper covers England, the remedies available for tackling housing related ASB in private properties are largely the same in England and Wales. Welsh Ministers have the power to commence certain specified provisions of the 2014 Act in relation to Wales.