Anti-social behaviour is one of the worst traits a neighbour can have. Whether they are screaming and shouting at each other or pounding out obnoxious music at 4am, they can make life a living hell for those around them. It’s not surprising then that dealing with this sort of behaviour crops up regularly for the Landlord Advice Team.
Our caller this week had hired an agent to find and manage a property for them. The landlord had bought 4 properties all in one row. The landlord didn’t want to be involved with managing the property at all, so they left the agent to check and choose the tenant for them.
Unfortunately, the agent didn’t do a very good job of checking and it quickly became apparent that the tenants in one of the middle houses were a serious nuisance to the area and his other tenants.
Within a week of moving in he was receiving reports that the tenants were handling stolen goods and throwing wild parties through the night. Unsurprisingly, one of the neighbours contacted the landlord to inform them they also suspected they were dealing in drugs.
The landlord was then advised by the agent that he would not be able to serve a section 21 notice as they were only 2 months into their tenancy. They also informed them that while they were a pain, they were not in any rent arrears so they would not be able to serve a section 8 notice.
After numerous complaints the situation finally tipped over when the tenants began trying to sell fireworks from the property, advertising this by releasing numerous loud explosions late into the night to help direct people to the property. When the neighbours tried to challenge the anti-social tenants on this they were intimidated and threatened.
This eventually led to the police applying for a closure order of 72 hours on the property to calm everything down and try to prevent the continuation of the anti-social behaviour.
At this point the landlord decided to join the RLA and seek further advice before the tenants moved back in. Convinced that after all this, there must be a way to get these tenants out of his property and away from his good tenants.
We were happy to inform him that there was in fact a way to evict. As the police had been granted a 72 hour closure order, the landlord was entitled to use Ground 7a as the basis for their section 8 notice. This ground is a mandatory ground and the closure order is sufficient to prove that possession must be granted. The notice period had to be a month, which is longer than the other anti-social behaviour ground (14) but was guaranteed to give possession making it the better option.
Happy to be able to take control of the situation again, the landlord asked us to assist in finding and preparing a section 8 form, which we were of course happy to do.
Rupinder Aujla, LAT Manager said ‘Bad neighbours like this are terrible for landlords and tenants alike and we’re always happy to help in dealing with these kind of situations. Prevention is just as important as cure though and it’s really important to do a high quality reference check on prospective tenants before the tenancy is agreed.’