Recovery of Possession of Dwelling-Houses (Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014)

Legal Speak

This measure is to give absolute ground for possession of secure tenancies in specific cases of anti-social behaviour, as long as the landlord has also complied with its legal obligations.

The court must make an order for the recovery of possession of a dwelling-house let under a secure tenancy, if the landlord requests this, if any of the following conditions is met for a tenant, or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house:

1. Conviction for a serious offence – in the locality of the tenant’s property, or outside of the locality where the offence is against a neighbour or a person connected with a landlord’s housing management functions.

2. Breach of an Injunction (in the same circumstances as the serious offence above).

3. Breach of a provision of a Criminal Behaviour Order (in the same circumstances as above).

4. The dwelling-house has been subject to a closure order and access has been prohibited for a continuous period of more than 48 hours.

5. Breaching of a Noise Abatement notice or court order in regard to noise nuisance which emitted from the dwelling-house.

Our Original Analysis when it became Law

It is our understanding that previous practices made it very difficult, time-consuming and costly for landlords to evict problem tenants. This means that many victims of anti-social behaviour could be suffering for months or even years in spite of the fact that the landlord is in agreement with the victim, recognises the problem, but cannot help any quicker due to current legislative processes.

This measure has been designed to help landlords though it is still a measure seen to be a last resort.  Usually, many early intervention tools have been used with an offender, without success, before eviction is sought.  It is noteworthy that it does not necessarily have to be the tenant who has committed the anti-social behaviour but it could be another person residing in the property or even just visiting the house.

We support early intervention and work with families to improve situations where anti-social behaviour is occurring by one member of the family rather than just evicting them to continue doing the same elsewhere to new neighbours. The picture is more nuanced and we can see there are definitely occasions where a problem, especially one that has escalated in a community, can be most effectively solved by eviction but this will not always be the case.