Nuisance or anti social behaviour involves a whole range of issues including:
- violence or threats of violence against people and property;
- intimidation and harassment;
- criminal damage to property;
- noisy and rowdy behaviour;
- aggressive and threatening language and behaviour;
- fouling of public areas;
- hate behaviour that targets members of identified groups because of their perceived differences;
- using accommodation to sell drugs or other unlawful purposes;
- and other conduct likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to neighbours.
If you believe that you are experiencing such behaviour and it is caused by a council tenant you should report nuisance behaviour (opens in new window). If you are a council tenant and are experiencing such behaviour but it is not caused by another tenant you should report anti social behaviour online (opens in new window). Any incidents of a criminal nature (threat or actual violence, harassment, damage) should also be reported to the police.
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Unless you are suffering from serious violence or harassment, in most cases of nuisance behaviour you should first try to speak to your neighbour or the person causing the problem at an early stage and try to sort it out. If you have done so and things do not improve or you are suffering violence or harassment then you should report nuisance behaviour (opens in new window). You should also keep a simple diary of incidents that occur. This should detail:
- the nature of the problem;
- the person causing the problem;
- when it happens (date and time).
The following pdf document is a diary template for recording nuisance behaviour.
Council tenants diary of incidents recording form (pdf 71kb opens in new window)
If you are a council tenant and are experiencing such behaviour but it is not caused by another tenant you should report anti social behaviour online (opens in new window).
Any incidents of a criminal nature (threat or actual violence, harassment, damage) should also be reported to the police.
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If you report nuisance behaviour and do not give your name and address the authority cannot fully investigate the report and cannot verify with you any information we might obtain. We ask that you let us know your name and address, but it will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to the person you are complaining about, unless you agree to it (e.g. to allow us to mediate between you).
Tenants themselves are often the victims of anti-social behaviour, and whilst in the best position to give evidence against offenders, are understandably reluctant to do so because of fear of intimidation. We therefore recognise the need to provide support and assistance for victims of anti-social behaviour, those who give evidence and require support or protection, and those who are afraid to come forward.
In the case of witnesses who require protection the police will provide support and assistance as appropriate having regard to the circumstances of each case.
The housing allocation policy gives additional priority for rehousing to the victims of anti-social behaviour but care will be exercised in the use of these provisions because:
- moving the victim away from the nuisance neighbour is unlikely to solve the problem and gives the wrong message to the perpetrator;
- some council estates are unpopular for a variety of reasons and tenants who are keen to move to other areas will on occasions claim to be the victims of such behaviour without any evidence to substantiate this.
We will therefore require independent agreement, usually from the police, of any alleged anti-social behaviour.
The allocation of additional priority as above is unlikely, in itself, to secure early rehousing and may be of little practical assistance where families need to be removed from an area for their own safety. Where families flee their homes and can satisfy us that they are unable to return because of such fears for their safety, we will regard them as homeless and will provide temporary alternative accommodation pending completion of any enquiries. Any claims that it is necessary for the family to be permanently relocated will again need to be supported by the police.
The following pdf document is our Housing Allocation Policy.
Council housing allocation policy (pdf 127kb opens in new window)
Where tenants or residents are given additional priority and rehoused as the victims of criminal or anti-social behaviour, they will normally be required to provide a written witness statement prior to moving to enable us to pursue action against the perpetrators.
In the most severe cases it may be necessary to install appropriate witness protection measures including alarms, new locks etc. This may be done following a risk assessment and in liaison with the police. Officers may also arrange access to counselling services and support from other departments and agencies.
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On receipt of a complaint of nuisance behaviour by a council tenant, we will initiate an investigation within three working days, liaising with the police and/or other agencies as appropriate. Whenever practicable, we will seek to complete our investigation within ten working days though in some cases this may take significantly longer.
If, following investigation, we are satisfied that the complaint is justified, a plan of action will be agreed with the complainant(s). This may involve the complainant(s) keeping a diary of future incidents, contacting the police regarding any criminal activity and providing statements. The person responsible for the alleged behaviour (or in the case of children, their parents or guardian) will be interviewed. If there is strong supporting evidence a warning as to future conduct will be given and they will be advised of the consequences of failing to comply which could ultimately result in the loss of their home. We will seek the co-operation of that person and wherever possible offer advice on the steps that might be taken to minimise any nuisance. If it is apparent that there is ongoing conflict between neighbouring families an offer of mediation may be made. Where the behaviour is of a criminal nature, and substantiated by the police, a joint warning letter may be sent.
Where nuisance or anti-social behaviour continues officers will, subject to the adequacy of evidence, proceed with the service of a notice of seeking possession, with the aim of evicting the tenant. Consideration will also be given to the use of injunctions, anti-social behaviour orders or other legal remedies, where this is considered appropriate.
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