Dealing with anti-social behaviour


Anti-social behaviour can come in many different forms including noise, threatening neighbours, damaging the property itself or neighbouring property or using the property as a brothel. It is one of the most common reasons that landlords serve notices seeking possession and one of the biggest causes of stress to landlords and the neighbours who have to live next to an anti-social tenant.

The purpose of this guide is to briefly outline what a landlord can do, if faced with a tenant who is engaging in anti-social behaviour. In it, we will provide you with the information you need on how to avoid anti-social behaviour, your liability in regards to anti-social behaviour, how to deal with it when it does occur and what support is available from the police or local authorities if you cannot resolve it yourself.

What is anti-social behaviour?

Anti-social behaviour is broadly defined as 'behaviour by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person'.

To be considered anti-social behaviour it must also be a persistent pattern of behaviour and can include things like:

  • verbal abuse
  • harassment because of gender, race, disability or sexuality
  • violence or threats of violence
  • systematic bullying and/or intimidation
  • noise which is part of a pattern of antisocial behaviour
  • dumping rubbish
  • vandalism, damage to property and graffiti.

What do we mean by 'persistent behaviour'?

Persistent behaviour means it must have occurred multiple times. One-off events would not be considered a persistent pattern of behaviour but four events spread over a number of years may be considered persistent if the anti-social behaviour is sufficiently serious (Birmingham CC v Ashton), while in other less serious examples there may need to be more examples of persistent behaviour.

What is not considered anti-social behaviour?

In general, noise or behaviour that would be considered part of everyday life is not something that would be considered anti-social behaviour. Poor parking, children playing, groups of people on the street without causing a disturbance, DIY at reasonable hours, etc would not be considered anti-social behaviour.

Nor are one-off events such as a loud party, as anti-social behaviour must be reoccurring rather than a singular event.

Pro-actively preventing anti-social behaviour

There are certain steps that you can take to try to prevent anti-social behaviour before it starts. By checking your tenants ahead of time and ensuring they understand their responsibilities, you can limit the likelihood of anti-social behaviour in the first place.

Members and guests only

The remainder of this page is available to anyone who has registered for an account on the NRLA website.

It contains information on -

  • avoiding selecting anti-social tenants;
  • steps you can take to manage anti-social behaviour once it occurs;
  • applying to court for possession because of anti-social behaviour;
  • what factors the courts will consider before granting possession; and
  • how local authorities can help with anti-social behaviour.
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