Action on neighbours from hell ‘a chocolate teapot’?

Yet another attempt at populism by Mr Shapps with his announcement that ‘neighbours from hell’ will face faster eviction under ‘radical plans’ to introduce a new additional mandatory ground for possession against social tenants, under which tenants with a track record of anti-social behaviour can be evicted from their council or housing association property much more quickly.   At its core, the proposal means that being found guilty of housing related anti-social behaviour in one court will provide automatic grounds for eviction in the county court, removing the need to prove the incidents of anti-social behaviour for a second time.

So far so good, it would be hard to find a stronger consensus on any issue than the one in support of tackling anti-social behaviour quickly and effectively. 

However, m’learned friends at the consistently excellent Nearly Legal website take a different view.  And, as NL says, it is housing lawyers who will have to make sense of this when court cases follow. 

So what are their key points?

First, NL say that a criminal conviction would already be incontestable as a fact in civil possession proceedings – there is no need for something to be ‘proved again’ on a possession claim at all.

Secondly, they see definitional problems.  Mr Shapps says the new mandatory ground will follow a tenant being found guilty of ‘housing related anti-social behaviour’ – but, say NL, that “covers a lot of ground, from the minor but annoying to the very serious indeed. And ‘found guilty’ – does this mean a conviction in the Magistrates or Crown Court?  Or the Magistrates making an ASBO or ASBI?”

Thirdly, they see problems in the word ‘mandatory’, which due to a case called Pinnock, is a bit more of a tricky concept than it used to be and not as certain as Mr Shapps would like.

Fourthly, they say there is little if any evidence that non-mandatory possession proceedings are what is getting in the way of dealing with the problem, even in the dreadful ASB cases quoted in Mr Shapps’ press release.

NL places the problem closer to home, and in particular the failure of some landlords and the police to take more effective and joined up action against perpetrators or to support victims, and the lack of dedicated funding.  So, they conclude, “Unless existing powers are actually used (and the dedicated joined-up ASB teams funded), the fact that there may be a kind of mandatory possession proceeding .. is going to make no practical difference to the situation at all, as there will be as few ‘housing related ASB’ prosecutions as there are now, or even fewer.”

Mr Shapps announcement is therefore, they say, “a chocolate teapot”.

PS – another sceptical lawyer writes on 24 Dash – see here http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2011-01-14-Lawyer-in-warning-over-fast-track-evicitons-under-ASBO-reforms

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One Response to Action on neighbours from hell ‘a chocolate teapot’?

  1. Godzilla's Banana says:

    A bitter chocolate indeed, producing tepid results. If the will was ever there, the way has proven fraught with double-think, obfuscation, stonewalling and subtle intimidation. No. RSLs’ are following Agenda 21 for ‘stack em high’ substandard newbuilds at great expense to both tenants and the general public. We shall shortly be led to the position whereby all ‘affordable’ housing will be very expensive, substandard, overcrowded and intolerable. The ‘smart’ technology being installed in all newbuild and vacated properties will enable these pseudo authorities to monitor and control every aspect of tenant’s lives, whilst promoting unecessary conflicts arising between disparate cultures and the increasing number of mentally ill out patients dosed up on highly dangerous medications.

    The social group comprising the vast majority of RSL tenants will have little, if any, recourse to justice; partly due to the deadly erosion of LA and partly through intimidation and ignorance of policy vs law. The socially vulnerable across all groups are to be made truly vulnerable to the deployment of Govermental social policies which are, frankly, unlawful. Fanning out to encapsulate greater numbers of homeowners through RTB and AH, these RSL’s in conjunction with local ‘authorities’ will be able to exercise power and control over a substantial quota of the population. Any complaint or lack of compliance will be labelled from among an assortment of legalistic weapons, resulting in intimidation and threat of homelessness.

    Another deception in motion, is the funding given for ‘redevelopment’ as exposed via The State of Britain’s Housing (?) documentary. There is no correlation between cause and effect being emphasised regards the broader context of ‘sustainable housing’ policies and the local infrastructure which serves the existant community.

    Plans morph, once approval stages have passed, placing considerable strain on shrinking local (and posited, global) environments. As Agenda 21 imposes water, heating and lighting rationing, SMART technologies will basically enslave tenants and mortgagees alike, as the very basics necessary for survival will be monitored and rationed according to affordability and ‘good’ tenant behaviours.

    The so-called Private rental sector (in truth RSL’s serve private interests) will be able to offer the same ‘subsidised’ rents as the entire housing market is placed under central control (through policy) yet able to apply to each individual household.

    There’s a little saying ‘by their fruits, ye shall know them’ and it is becoming increasingly obvious as to the raison’ detre’ behind the housing policies being applied by RSL’s, in the experience of long-standing tenants.

    It’s an entirely covert operation, non-democratic and as transparant as the ocean post BP Gulf Oil to most employees and tenants of these RSL’s who are destined to act as Core Exit, eating into the very right to own property. This is another Agenda 21 mandate: private property is to be outlawed.

    Linking more closely with the ASB eviction rhetoric, all tenants are equal but some are ‘more equal’ than others. As is being reflected in legislative moves generally, those deemed to have ‘special’ needs are given priority rights due to the term vulnerability. This is social engineering at its most effective, with the aim that the weak rule the strong. The right to self-defence or protection from harrassment is being turned on its head in favour of ASB perpetrators within these designated catagories.

    In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. Yet, the only thing allowing evil to continue is for good wo-men to say nothing.

    That’s about the sum total of where I see things trending according to policies and mandates agreed with EU/UN.

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