Tenancy Management

Call of the week – anti-social behaviour

Call of the week
James Wood
Written by James Wood

Many landlords will experience anti-social behaviour from a tenant while providing homes.The RLA recently undertook the largest ever non-governmental survey of the PRS. In this research we found 51% of section 21 users had done so at least partially because of an anti-social tenant.  Even more had done so because of damage and rent arrears. This week’s call was a typical example of a landlord dealing with an anti-social tenant.

The landlord ran a HMO of four people, each of them renting out a room in the property separately.

A tenant had signed a six-month tenancy about four months earlier. Until recently they had been quiet and paid their rent on time, but recently they had started dating somebody new.

The landlord then received a number of complaints regarding the new boyfriend’s threatening behaviour to other tenants. One female tenant in particular had already asked if she could surrender her tenancy early out of fear.

The landlord had called because he wasn’t sure what to do in this situation.  The reports of anti-social behaviour were consistent from all the other tenants, but none of them were willing to provide a witness statement to help the landlord gain possession of the room. 

Concerned

They were concerned for their safety while this person was being allowed into the property by the other tenant. 

The landlord was aware that Section 8 could be used in these circumstances, but without evidence he was not sure what he could do. He’d already tried to talk to the tenant with the anti-social boyfriend but had been told to mind his own business.

We advised the landlord that as the tenancy was nearing an end and the tenant was refusing to listen, he could always consider using a Section 21 notice. As this would not require any witness statements, it would at least guarantee bringing the anti-social behaviour to an end even though the notice period was longer.

Under the government’s proposals to remove Section 21, there are sadly no real improvements on dealing with this kind of situation. The landlord and tenants would be left struggling with this anti-social behaviour.

John Stewart, policy manager, said “Despite, the rhetoric, so-called ‘no fault’ eviction primarily a result of poor tenant behaviour.

“The RLA is concerned that unless more safeguards are put in place in cases like this, many landlords will be tempted to leave the market.”

About the author

James Wood

James Wood

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