Homeless Link responds to DCLG on anti-social behaviour evictions

10 Nov 2011 04:19 PM

Homeless Link has called on the Department of Communities and Local Government to rethink its proposals to make it easier to evict tenants for anti-social behaviour.

In a consultation that closed yesterday, Government proposed new powers that will enable landlords to evict a tenant who has received an anti-social behaviour order without further court proceedings. Homeless Link is concerned that such a power may impact disproportionately on vulnerably housed and excluded individuals and push them into homelessness.

 Anti-social behaviour is a serious problem and we acknowledge the impact on victims – it is important that there are strong sanctions in place. However, in many cases anti-social behaviour is linked to poor living conditions and social inequality. Statistics relating to the recent riots in London indicated that a disproportionate number of those convicted of offences came from some of the most deprived communities in the country.
Making people homeless as a result of anti-social behaviour is, in the view of Homeless Link, likely to result in more problems for both the individual concerned and their communities. 
The DCLG consultation proposes:
  • A new mandatory power of possession for tenants whose anti-social behaviour has been considered by a court: Under this proposal social landlords will be able to seek possession of a property if the tenant has breached an ASB sanction without having to go to court a second time. 
  • That the existing ground for possession for all anti-social behaviour is broadened: Currently only activity perpetrated in an individual's neighbourhood can be used as grounds for possession. The DCLG propose that this is broadened to anywhere in the UK.
  • That a whole family can be removed from their home due to the acts of one member.
Responding to these proposals from the DCLG, we have called on them to:
  • build in a requirement that supportive interventions have been fully explored and used prior to possession being sought
  • recognise the serious impact on the individual and community of an individual losing their home and take action to avoid this happening
  • reconsider these proposals in relation to the Human Rights test of everyone being equal before the law.
Read Homeless Link’s full response to the DCLG consultation