Landlords concerned by anti-social behaviour plans
The government should not scrap an anti-social behaviour injunction until its replacement is proven, the National Housing Federation has warned.
Responding to the anti-social behaviour white paper announced by home secretary Theresa May yesterday, NHF policy officer Andy Tate said ASB injunctions had been effective.
‘The anti-social behaviour injunction, which the government wants to scrap, is a reliable, affordable and effective tool for social landlords to provide safe and secure communities for their tenants and to help fight anti-social behaviour,’ he said.
‘While we welcome the Home Office’s attempt to retain the key elements of the ASBI in the new crime prevention injunction, it can take a long time – sometimes years – for such new legislation to become a useful tool on the ground. Much will depend on how the courts interpret an act of parliament, a process that is unpredictable.’
ASBIs are civil orders granted by county courts that impose restrictions on perpetrators designed to prevent an escalation of anti-social behaviour that can lead to more serious consequences. CPIs will work in a similar way, but may also be issued by magistrates courts, and to under 18s.
Mr Tate warned the new injunction could be less effective than the ASBI, and legal arguments could prolong the process of dealing with the anti-social behaviour.
‘The government should keep the ASBI until the untested CPI is proven as a worthy and workable successor,’ he said.
The Chartered Institute of Housing was supportive of the white paper saying the legislative changes would help landlords tackle anti-social behaviour more effectively.
Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice, said: ‘The changes put forward are very significant and will drastically alter the number of tools landlords have at their disposal to address anti-social behaviour.
He welcomed moves to fast-track evictions where an individual or family member has previously been convicted of anti-social behaviour.
‘Social landlords play a vital role in tackling ASB in our communities and the mandatory possession reform reflects the cultural shift that has taken place over the last two years towards finding victim-centred solutions,’ he said.
‘The proposals offer landlords an alternative route to possession, which will reduce the burden on victims to give evidence in different court cases and avoid waiting months – sometimes years until the perpetrator is evicted.’
The CPI will also replace the ASBO. This streamlining would reduce costs and time spent waiting for court hearings, Mr Smart believed.