Anti-social tenants can be a complete nightmare for landlords as not only do they cause issues in your properties but can also disrupt your business. Unfortunately, as a landlord you are somewhat responsible for your tenants’ behaviour, which means if they are upsetting those that live near them you will be expected to step in and help resolve the situation. However, this isn’t always easy due to the fact that tenants have certain rights and previously even if they were given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) nothing really changed.
However, this week the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 came into effect in order to tackle the issue of both rogue tenants and those that are a nuisance to society. Many people have already welcomed this new order, but what does it mean for landlords? PropertyQuoteDirect investigates…
What is the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014?
According to the gov.uk website the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 “will introduce simpler, more effective powers to tackle anti-social behaviour that provide better protection for victims and communities.” The Act was created in reaction to a number of complaints over the previous ASBO system due to the fact that it did not act as an effective deterrent.
Under the new Act members of the public will have greater powers against those that continually break the law thanks to the ‘Community Trigger’ system. From now on, if three complaints are made against an individual in a six month period their local council or other governing agency are required to perform a review. During this review the agency needs to look into the history of the case and decide whether more action needs to be taken. This means that it will no longer take years for cases to be brought forward and anti-social behaviour will be tackled more efficiently.
Landlords and the new Anti-Social Act
One of the biggest benefits of the new Act for landlords is that they will be able to repossess their properties in a shorter time frame if their tenants have already been convicted of anti-social behaviour. In the Act it states: “Unlike the existing discretionary grounds for possession, the landlord will not be required to prove to the court that it is reasonable to grant possession. This means the court will be more likely to determine cases in a single, short hearing.”
In order for landlords to repossess their properties their tenants must meet one of the following conditions:
• Convicted of a serious offence (specified in Schedule 2A to the Housing Act 1985);
• Found by a court to have breached a civil injunction;
• Convicted for breaching a criminal behaviour order (CBO);
• Convicted for breaching a noise abatement notice; or
• The tenant’s property has been closed for more than 48 hours under a closure order for anti-social behaviour.
Illegal Activity in Buy-to-Let Properties
Being anti-social towards those that live in close proximity is on the lower end of the tenant issue scale; on the higher end there is illegal activity including using buy to let properties to grow cannabis. Luckily, under the new Act police and landlords have more power to crack down on illegal cannabis farms.
In fact, just this week a drug farm was closed by Humberside Police in the Cleethorpes area. Discussing the issue of cannabis farms, Karl Knipe, who works at Metropolis Surveyors and Kings Lettings, said: “Landlords need to use an agent who will carry out regular inspections while self-managing landlords should inspect the property themselves. Make sure the tenant is referenced and you have rent guarantee insurance. One thing landlords should be wary of is if they issue a tenant an inspection notice and the tenant won’t agree a date. Ideally we’d have a national register of bad tenants – who are involved in drugs on don’t pay the rent – but that’s not allowed.”
It’s not surprising to see that landlords are already using the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to their advantage, especially when it comes to tenants taking part in illegal activity. Hopefully, in the future this will discourage tenants from taking part in anti-social behaviour in the first place, making life easier for the public and landlords alike.