Landlords - What about them?
Landlords play an important role in tackling anti-social behaviour. There are three main types of landlords:
- The council (who manage large numbers of housing stock)
- Housing associations (who took over a lot of social housing from the council)
- Private landlords who could range from companies who own a number of properties to individuals who rent out just one.
If you rent from the council or a housing association, or the anti-social behaviour is coming from the tenant of the council or housing association, you should go to them to report the problem and discuss what can be done.
With private landlords it can be more complicated but if you can get them involved, it may help the situation get resolved quicker. This is because most private landlords can evict problem tenants quite quickly as they do not have to give the tenant much notice. However, this will all depend on how much the landlord cares about the situation, which will differ from person to person and from place to place (as illustrated by one victim who shared his story).
If you are renting and you feel your landlord is treating you badly, do not despair. Local authorities are responsible for landlords who are renting privately to people so there is someone you can go to. Landlords like these are called rogue landlords.
There are many definitions of ‘rogue landlord’. Landlords have legal responsibilities but no clear best practice on rights and responsibilities. If your landlord is not making sure your home is safe and livable-in he or she is a rogue landlord. If your landlord is harassing you, illegally evicts you or refuses to return your deposit without a good reason you can report them as a rogue landlord.
Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, has done a lot of work on rogue landlords. They look at local councils who are using good techniques to tackle rogue landlords and improve their local private rented sector. If you have a problem with a rogue landlord, you should therefore contact your Local Authority. However, Shelter also have a helpline (0808 800 4444) and further information on this topic here.
Squatting is where a person settles on land or occupies property without any legal right to be there. Squatting in residential premises is a crime; squatting on commercial premises is not.
We know anti-social squatters - what can we do?
- Report squatters committing anti-social behaviour just like with other neighbours
- Report crime like drug dealing to the Police
- Report vandalism and fly-tipping to your Local Authority.
- Make sure the owner of the house/land knows about it - only they can get the people to leave.
Contact the owner of the house/land directly. Tell them that there are squatters on their premises and the problems they are causing. It is much easier to get rid of squatters than tenants so get the owner involved as soon as possible. This is much quicker than waiting for the Council to gather enough evidence to themselves contact the owner. (If you do not know who the owner of the property is, you should be able to get this information from your Local Authority.)