Fast-track evictions unlikely to work, says housing association
The government’s plans to allow social landlords to fast-track evictions is unlikely to work because of recent case law, says Riverside Housing Association.
Housing minister Grant Shapps this week outlined plans for councils and housing associations to evict anti-social tenants more quickly and easily.
He proposed a new additional mandatory ground for possession, so tenants found guilty of housing related anti-social behaviour in criminal cases will face automatic grounds for eviction in the civil courts. This will remove the need to repeatedly prove incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Tom McGuire, Riverside’s lead director for anti-social behaviour, highlighted the Pinnock versus Manchester Council case in November last year, which means a court can take into consideration whether an eviction is a ‘proportionate’ response. This takes the tenant’s personal circumstances into account.
‘This effectively means that the new announcement of a mandatory ground for eviction based upon anti-social behaviour becomes a decision at the discretion of the judge in the eviction case, therefore making it no easier to secure evictions than it is today,’ he said.
Landlords have also warned of an influx of problem tenants to the private rented sector after their social sector counterparts gained new fast-track eviction powers.
Residential Landlords’ Association raised concerns that private landlords will find themselves unknowingly taking on tenants evicted from social housing. Alan Ward, chair of the RLA, said: ‘The government is once again looking to the private rented sector to meet the UK’s housing needs.’
Mr Shapps has dedicated £300,000 of government funding to a new central team tackling ASB. He also encouraged housing associations to use existing powers to extend 12-month probationary tenancies by a further six months if necessary before offering secure tenancies.
He said: ‘I want any tenant who comes forward to report anti-social behaviour in their area to get the support they need and deserve. And I want landlords to use the full range of powers at their disposal to tackle this menace head-on, so that the disruptive minority of social tenants don’t make everyone else’s lives a misery.’
Home secretary Theresa May announced a review of ASB legislation in July.
Anti-social behaviour powers
- Additional mandatory ground for possession
- £300,000 for a dedicated team
- Chartered Institute of Housing to take over the respect standard
- Probationary tenancies can be extended by six months