Tuesday, 03 March 2015

‘Locality’ clause cut from eviction proposals

The government has revised proposals to allow social landlords to seek fast-track evictions in the light of last week’s riots.

An updated version of the consultation document, A new mandatory power of possession for anti-social behaviour, would make it easier to evict people where criminal or anti-social behaviour has been committed away from the offender’s home.

As it currently stands, the law states tenants can be evicted for criminal or anti-social behaviour committed in the ‘locality’ of the property in which they live. This has led some landlords to question whether they can evict tenants who are convicted or rioting and looting if the offences did not take place in their area.

The revised consultation on the mandatory power of possession suggests the government should revise the Housing Act 1985 and Housing Act 1988 ‘so that serious anti-social behaviour and criminality beyond the immediate neighbourhood of the property can clearly be taken into account’.

In a letter to the chief executives of stock-holding local authorities and large housing associations, housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘It cannot be right for the sanction [eviction] to apply only to criminal behaviour towards neighbours or in the locality of the property as it does at the moment.’

The consultation document on mandatory possession was originally issued on 3 August, and would give social landlords the power to evict assured or secure tenants more quickly if they have been found guilty of various offences. The deadline for responses has been extended to 7 November following the amendments.

Readers' comments (30)

  • Chris

    Any clarity on this being applicable retrospectively?

    Also, any definition of 'serious' provided? I think any criminality is serious, but what does the law say?

    The final grey area is timing - once accused, once charged, once convicted, after all avenues of legal appeal exhausted. If the evicition goes ahead in the manner the goosesteppers would like then there will be just cause for redress when a not guilty verdict is returned, likewise if the conviction is overturned at appeal. How will the landlord return the family home if it has been relet, or how will the landlord afford the compensation for an eviction becomming illegal because the grounds for it cease to exist after it is granted?

    This is another great example why we need a better standard of MP, as the current all gob and no brainers risk costing us our very society.

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  • TO ALL SOCIAL TENANTS. Next time you are having an argument with someone in a pub or at a football kick around in the park or at your wedding party or at your cousin's funeral or while on holiday on the Pyrenees, OR SWEARIN for your parking ticket or at the bus conductor remember you'll get an eviction notice!

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  • best just leave things as they are then Chris? If there's one thing that can be guaranteed with all this is if there is even an article discussing new proposals you'll be one of the first names in the comments section stating why it won't work.

    In this particular example Shapps is saying that the locality issue is a pain in the landlords @rse when trying to get an eviction and it would be a good idea to get rid of it. Guess what.. it is and it would.

    As for what is the definition of 'serious' that is there for debate. I would say an obvious starting point would be any prison time. I'm still struggling to understand how someone can be sent down and still get full HB to pay for the property they were living in whilst doing the crime and then whilst doing the time!

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  • Chris Webb

    This is a disproportionate response from a desperate government determined to be seen to be doing something, regardless of effect or rationality.

    Whilst it is indefensible for people to behave as the rioters did, identifying the causes and dealing with those needs to be the priority. It has not been established what the tenure of rioters was, nor if there is any link between tenure and rioting. Why then roll out this as a response.

    It would be as logical to implement laws against all printers on the basis that one printer behaves like a useless but dangerous bully.

    Perhaps Mr Cameron needs to run this through his family friendly check before implementation - but then his doublespeak precedes him.

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  • Great! Wy should taxpayers subsidise scum?

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  • Dear tenantplus
    Do you never think 'Perhaps those yellow lines are there for a reason' when you get a parking ticket? You do seem to find a lot of arguments in your life. But none of these are likely to be 'serious' & lead to eviction, until you punch someone. Hope u don't.
    Tenants only get HB while on remand or if their sentence is 6 months or less, and only then if they supply clear details in writing within certain timescales, which discriminates against those with limited literacy and under-resourced Probation services.

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  • Chris

    Venk - Would that be the guilt scum or the accused but not guilty scum - or does the difference not matter?

    Mark - no, I am not saying leave things as they are so please do not try to spin my statements into that which they are not. What I am saying is that to rush into change that is not a proportionate response, and without thinking through the implications and consequences, is foolhardy and potentially risks making a bad situation worse. If Shapps is right to get rid of your arsepain Mark then fine - but linking it to the riots simply to further demonise social tenants is wrong - may I apologise if you take offense at my objection to the demonisation actions of this government, but actually no, I'm pleased if it offends you because if you support such a dispicable action you deserve to be offended.

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  • Venk - so you are not scum if you pay tax? - this is what i infer from what you say.

    Mark W - to be fair, better (for better read fair & thought out) suggestions than those put forward by MP's are often found under posts from whoever Chris is.

    and in relation to these proposals - as they simply do nothing but further stigmatise social tenants i cant see any benefit to them. if there were new proposals being sought that would proportionally affect residents of all tenure then possibly fair enough. although more the question why did these riots happen, be allowed to happen/escalate as opposed to lets take the opportunity to bash social tenants.

    anyway guys who lean more to the right - it won't be long before 'scum' cannot afford to live in places like London so you'll all be okay and able to go about your business.

    i anticipate a much different response from the 'non-scum' when future government proposals affect you more directly.

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  • Joe Halewood

    All you tenants out there thinking of going on holiday - please make sure you dont get drunk and get arrested for having sex on the beach else you will lose your tenancy when you return. I recall the brouhaha last year(?) when that couple were caught and arrested in Dubai(?) and faced from memory a public flogging and a 5-year jail sentence?

    Now that clearly upset the locals and local cultural norms and was seen there as a serious case of criminality, so one wonders whether this application is just UK-wide or is it world-wide?

    Or is it as I suspect yet another case of yet another policy on the convenient hoof from Shapps in his ever more desperate case to seek further self-publicity?

    On a linked point I am growing tired of the (social) tenant-bashing that is endemic and institutionalised with this government. If they want to get tough on crime and even on the causes of crime then bloody well do it to all on an equitable basis and not, just to social housing tenants!

    There is rank hypocrisy between Boris Johnson and David Cameron smashing up a restaurant dressed in their Bullingdon Club hat and tails and thinking it ok to throw wads of cash as they leave and a student stealing 6 bottles of water and gettign 6 months that they dont see. Role models indeed!

    The Tories portray themselves as the party of law and order and have done so for years. There is nothing wrong with the principle of that .... as long as law and order and 'justice' is equitable and applies to all regardless of where you live. Yet these latest knee-jerk proposals just seek to penalise social tenants, not private tenants or home owners and that is simply wrong.

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  • did i say you had offended me Chris? who spinning words now.. This issue should be looked at as being completely independent of the riots. The locality of someone's criminal behavious should not matter when evaluating whether to evict someone. it is only the level of the criminal behaviour.

    This is just something that is being proposed and is therefore extremely unlikely to effect any of the rioters from last week. It is not therefore something that is being 'rushed'. It is also not clear from this article about what offences would be included so i'm not entirely clear as to how you can make assumptions that it will not be a proportionate response. It could however be a useful tool and deterrent to be utilised in the future. It's an idea and not a bad one.

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