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anti social tenants

Letting your property out to anyone can be a daunting prospect, and for many landlords it is important to try and get the right tenants or you could risk encountering allsorts of problems, from non-payment of rent to anti-social behaviour. The term anti-social behaviour is used to describe a range of problems such as excessive noise, pets, general disturbances, violence or dumping rubbish. It is defined as something which ‘causes alarm, distress or harassment to the individual or community’.

You may well find odd issues with your tenants and majority of the time telling them to turn down their music or remove rubbish from the garden for example, is enough to deter them and it is unlikely that you will have any further problems. However for some tenants, the persistence of various issues that affect people around them can become a problem if left to continue, and unfortunately it can be a frustrating process controlling these tenants or going through formal procedures to have them evicted from your property. Areas with a history of anti-social behaviour can also have an effect on house prices in the area, so you need to be very careful as this could become costly if you looked to get a quick house sale in the future.

Forms of anti-social behaviour can include uncontrollable pets or children, dog fouling and dumping rubbish, more commonly high levels of noise particularly at unreasonable hours as well as drug misuse, alcohol related problems, vandalism and damage to the property and also harassment or violence and racial abuse.

All tenants should be provided with a tenancy agreement which should outline their obligations and responsibilities as a tenant as well as yours as their landlord. Therefore any form of anti-social behaviour would be in breach of the tenancy agreement, in which case they may be liable for prosecution or court action to have them removed from the property. However if they are experiencing problems with other neighbours then they should contact the landlord for advice and to report any issues. It may then be up to you to take the appropriate action to help your tenants deal with any issues.

There are many ways of trying to resolve issues that have arisen from incidents of anti-social behaviour. These include mediating between parties, drawing up mutual agreements, and creating an action plan to address things such as noise nuisance or fouling. However for more serious incidents of anti-social behaviour such as harassment or violence, the police or local authority may need to be involved in order to take appropriate action or prosecute. A landlord would only look to request permission from the court for eviction for more serious or persistent incidents of anti-social behaviour where other methods of resolution have failed. In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation from the tenant awarded by the court for incidents of damage to property. If you or your tenants experience any serious issues from neighbours then it is important to contact the police or local authority for advice.

by Cormac Henderson

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