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Your responsibility for other people's Anti-Social Behviour

View profile for Joanne Ellis
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It has recently been announced that the new Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions which can be granted by the County Court under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, will now come into force on 23 March 2015.  They were originally intended to come into force in October 2014 and then January 2015,.

If an Injunction under the new Act is granted then possession proceedings can be issued by a Landlord. If they are, and the Injunction is relied on as a ground for possession, the Court must make a Possession Order, if one of 5 conditions are met. These conditions are not solely related to the behaviour of the tenant but also to “a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house”. In addition, the behaviour does not always have to occur at the tenant’s property.

As the Injunctions have not yet come into force, it is uncertain how the Courts are going to deal with them. However, under the legislation a tenant could be evicted if their visitor commits an offence against their neighbour or breaches a previous Injunction, in an entirely separate location to the property itself. This would be the case even if the tenant was not involved or not aware of the behaviour or the offence which took place. The behaviour which is said to have breached the Injunction would not need to have caused nuisance or annoyance, it would only have to be capable of doing so.   

Past case law has provided a precedent for punishing tenants for the behaviour of their adult children, such as in the case of Tuitt v Greenwhich LBC. In that case, the Court of Appeal refused to allow Ms Tuitt’s appeal against an outright possession order which was made as a result of the anti-social behaviour of her 18 year old son. This was despite the fact that her son was not a named tenant of the property. The Court is therefore entitled to make an outright order for possession of a property based on anti-social behaviour when the tenant cannot control the activities or behaviour of others within the household.

The new Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions go further than previous case law and mean that a mandatory ground for possession can be triggered by a visitor to the property whose anti-social behaviour occurs away from the property and the tenant had no involvement. In these circumstances, we would hope that the tenant could argue that their human rights have been breached but these cases would inevitably be lengthy, clogging up the Court’s time and resources.

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