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Evicting "neighbours from Hell" to be made easier

The Guardian reports (as does the Daily Mail) that the Government are to make it easier for councils and housing associations to evict tenants involved in anti social behaviour. There will be a mandatory power of repossession which will allow previous convictions to be taken into account - such a drug dealing, criminal damage or violence against neighbours.

Grant Shapps says:

"All too often, efforts to tackle neighbours from hell take far too long, and it seems the needs and rights of the victims play second fiddle to those of the perpetrators.

"That's why I'm looking to speed up the process, so where a social housing tenant already has a conviction for anti-social behaviour and the situation has not improved, this can be taken into account and landlords can act swiftly to bring to an end the day-to-day misery that is inflicted for too long on those simply seeking to quietly enjoy their homes. Of course eviction is a drastic step and should be the last resort that landlords take to tackle this menace – but when all other options have failed to stop this yobbish behaviour, victims should not have to wait months or even years to see justice done."

Far too often the soft option of "mediation" is applied - on the grounds that otherwise the court won't agree to convict even when the breach of  tenancy agreement is proven. Once eviction proceedings are finally commenced it takes an average of seven months for the courts to provide a possession order. The culprit has the incentive to delay the process - for instance by not turning up to court so the case is adjourned - during which time they can keep their home. It can often cost over £20,000 to secure an eviction. The Government estimate that courts issue 3,000 eviction orders for anti social behaviour against social tenants a year. There are 3.7 million households in social housing. The number making life a misery for the neighbours is certainly a small minority - but not as small as 3,000.


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