Industry News Rhianna Abrey 13/12/2022

Police and councils failing to tackle anti-social tenants, finds new NRLA research

New data published today by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) reveals the extent of the misery communities now endure due to the failure of police and local authorities to tackle anti-social behaviour in the private rented sector.

The new data reveals that, of those private landlords who have served a repossession notice at some point, half have done so because of a tenant’s anti-social or criminal behaviour.

The findings also show that, of this group, 84 per cent have not received any assistance in tackling such behaviour from their local authority. 75 per cent did not have any help from the police. 67 per cent had either always, or sometimes, faced problems gathering evidence or support from neighbours or fellow tenants to address the behaviour of anti-social tenants.

Outlining the typical problems they face, one landlord told the NRLA: “Sometimes (especially in a house of multiple occupancy) tenants fear to speak up about other tenants acting aggressively or drinking or on drugs, for fear of safety. My tenants have been assaulted by my other tenants and we can't ask them to leave without evidence. Evidence takes time and, in our experience, all the other tenants moved out and we lost money waiting for the bad one to leave”.

Concerns about the lack of action to tackle problem behaviour are shared among the public more broadly.  According to polling for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, of those who experienced anti-social behaviour in the last year, just 26 per cent reported it to the police or local authorities, of which fewer than half (41 per cent) were satisfied with the response they received.

The NRLA is warning that efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour will be made harder when Section 21 repossessions are scrapped in the private rented sector. Under the Government’s plans, where tenants cause misery for fellow tenants and neighbours, landlords will only be able to repossess a property where the police or local authority have taken action against them.

The Government has agreed to the NRLA’s calls for a roundtable meeting to discuss how to tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour in rented housing. Specifically, the NRLA is calling for a number of measures to ensure effective action against nightmare tenants. These include:

  • Implementing, in full, the recommendations of the Victims Commissioner’s 2019 report on anti-social behaviour.
  • Anti-social behaviour hearings should be prioritised by the courts with possession orders enforced swiftly thereafter.
  • Where the police or local authorities take action in response to a tenant’s anti-social behaviour, it should be a legal requirement to inform the landlord.

Commenting on the findings, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

“The vast majority of tenants and landlords have a good relationship. However, the minority of renters committing anti-social behaviour cause misery for their fellow tenants and communities more widely. They leave many living in fear of giving evidence against them.

“The police and councils are failing to provide the support landlords desperately need to take swift and effective action against nightmare tenants. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency before Section 21 repossessions are ended.”