Reduced powers will leave landlords fewer options to tackle minor offences
New powers could evict tenants for littering
Tenants could be evicted for minor offences such as littering under new anti-social behaviour powers, homeless charities have warned.
Responding to a consultation on the plans, which closed last week, charities expressed concern that cutting 18 existing anti-social behaviour powers to just five will leave landlords with few options to curb nuisance behaviour.
Under the new plans, a community protection order - for stopping persistent anti-social behaviour in a particular area or property - would apply to problems as diverse as running a crack house to littering.
There are currently separate orders for specific offences and sanctions for breaching them vary depending on the severity of the offence. If a new CPO is broken, landlords would be able to start eviction processes against the tenant.
Housing charity Shelter’s response to the Home Office consultation said: ‘It is not proportionate for someone engaged in criminal activity to face the same sanction as someone who breaches an injunction for failure to maintain their garden. We agree that action should be taken where an injunction is breached but this should be based on the nature of the act.’
Homelessness charity Centrepoint also warned that housing sanctions for anti-social behaviour ‘must be applied carefully to ensure that they are proportionate to any offence’. It added that young people who commit anti-social behaviour ‘often have deeper rooted problems that drive their behaviour so it is important that they are given a fair chance to address these issues’.
The National Housing Federation’s response recommends retaining the current anti-social behaviour injunction, which gives an immediate short-term solution to anti-social behaviour until the new criminal behaviour order, which encompasses a greater variety of offences, has been tested.
Joanne Kent Smith, senior policy and practice officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing agreed, saying: ‘We would advocate that one or two of the tools that are known to work well, like the anti-social behaviour injunction, are run in tandem with the new powers for a while.’
New ASB powers
- Criminal behaviour order - available on conviction for any criminal offence
- Crime prevention injunction - a civil order which is easy to obtain and includes a support element
- Community protection order (level 2) - a local authority/ police power to restrict use of a property
- Community protection order (level 1) - a notice to stop persistent anti-social behaviour affecting local quality of life
- Police direction power - a power to direct any individual causing crime or disorder away from a particular place