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Tenancy Conditions - Antisocial Behaviour

If you are a tenant of Birmingham City Council, you should report antisocial behaviour to your local housing office.

Birmingham City Council can take action against tenants who breach their conditions of tenancy.

The action we can take ranges from applying for an injunction, applying for an ASBO or in the most extreme circumstances, evicting the tenant.

If a person is evicted because of antisocial behaviour it may affect their ability to be rehoused by either the council or another social landlord.

To find out more about the different kinds of antisocial behaviour, choose an option from the menu below, contact your local housing team, or see our frequently asked questions

Animals
Arson
Assault and domestic violence
Criminal activity
Demotion Orders
Drinking Banning Orders
Groups of youths
Gardens and flytipping
Harassment
Hate crime
Noise
Premises Closure Orders
Property alterations
Racial harrassment
Sports and ball games
Vandalism and graffiti
Vehicles and parking
Verbal abuse


Animals
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

You, your friends and relatives and any other person living in or visiting the property (including children) must not:

  • allow your pets to cause a nuisance, for example, fouling communal areas such as lifts, stairs and landings, and making excessive noise such as barking
  • allow any animal you keep at the property to cause a nuisance to anyone in the local area, including council employees. Animals must be kept under proper control at all times
  • keep any animal, which has been classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, or any animal that BCC feel is unsuitable. The local housing team will advise you on whether an animal is unsuitable
  • breed any animals or birds at the property causing a nuisance to neighbours and a risk to health.


Arson
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

You, your friends and relatives and any other person living in or visiting the property {including children) must not:

  • Intentionally damage property. If you intentionally damage the city council's property, we will seek compensation, using the courts as necessary.

Under 6.4 of the Conditions of Tenancy, arson or attempted arson will always be classed as antisocial behaviour and if an incident of arson involves a council tenancy this must be reported to your local housing team.



Assault and Domestic Violence
If either party involved is a council tenant then it may be that Birmingham City Council can take their own action against the perpetrator by way of obtaining an injunction.

You need to contact your
local housing team at the earliest opportunity to report the incident to them. If the incident is reported promptly, it may be that the council can obtain a 'without notice' injunction which will take effect immediately. A Power of Arrest can be attached to the injunction where there has been violence or a threat of violence. This can reassure the complainant that there are procedures in place to prevent any further problems.



Criminal activity
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

You, your friends and relatives and any other person living in or visiting the property (including children) must not:

  • use the property other than as a private home
  • use the property for any criminal, immoral or illegal purpose, including selling, storing or using any illegal drugs, or storing or handling stolen goods.

Criminal activities carried out in properties are always classed as antisocial behaviour. This includes drug and alcohol abuse, substance misuse and drug dealing. Engaging in these activities is a breach of tenancy conditions.

If you suspect that a Birmingham City Council Tenant is using the property for taking or using drugs you should contact your local housing team.



Demotion Orders
The Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 introduced a new provision for the demotion of a secure tenant on the grounds of anti-social behaviour. The period of demotion will normally be for 12 months unless the landlord has served a notice of proceedings for possession. This continues the demoted tenancy for a further six months unless possession proceedings are issued within that period.

A Demotion Order removes several rights of the tenant:

  • Security of tenure.
  • Right to buy or acquire.
  • Right to transfer.

An application for a Demotion Order can be made alongside an application for a Possession Order.

Where a possession order is not granted but the Court decides a demotion order is applicable, this provides the tenant with a serious warning that should their behaviour continue they run the risk of losing their home.

If at the end of the demotion period the landlord is satisfied with the conduct of the tenant and has not served Notice to seek Possession of the property, then the demoted tenancy will become a secure tenancy again.



Drinking Banning Orders

Drinking Banning Orders were created under Part 1, Chapter 1 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006.

Drinking Banning Orders will allow the prohibition of specific individuals entering certain premises if involved in criminal or disorderly conflict under the influence of alcohol. These orders can be made to protect people and/or property.

Police and Local Authorities (both District and County Councils) will be able to apply to both the Magistrates and County Courts in cases where individuals have committed crime under the influence of alcohol. These orders can be made against any person over the age of sixteen. The penalty for non compliance is a fine of up to £2,500.

An order can have effect for a period of not less than two months and not more than two years.

The orders cannot be enforced to prevent a person accessing the place in which they reside, they are employed, they are required to attend by the order of a court or tribunal or a place they are expected to attend for education, training or receiving medical treatment.

The duration of an order can be reduced if the offender completes an approved course specified in the order to address their alcohol misuse behaviour. The length of any reduction in the orders duration is at the discretion of the court but it cannot exceed half the orders specified term.



Groups of youths

If the activity of the youths involves a council tenancy:

  • one of the youths is a council tenant or child of a council tenant
  • the actions of the group are directed towards a council tenant
  • there is damage to a council property.

This should be reported to the local housing team

If the activity involves the use of violence or a threat of violence and the perpetrator is not a juvenile it should be reported to the police. It may be that the council can obtain an injunction, so victims are therefore also advised to contact theirlocal housing team

If there is a problem with underage drinking on one of our housing estates you should contact yourlocal housing team



Gardens and flytipping
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

  • you must keep all garden areas for which you are responsible neat and tidy
  • if you fail to keep your garden tidy and free from rubbish, we may carry out any necessary work and charge you a reasonable cost for doing this
  • take reasonable steps to keep the property free from rats, mice and other pests
  • dispose of household rubbish in the appropriate way, for example using the refuse chute in multi-storey flats, placing rubbish in communal refuse bins, or leaving it outside your home on the correct day for refuse collectors
  • not dump rubbish or fly tip
  • you must not store rubbish, indoor furniture, household appliances, inflammable materials or gas in the garden area. If you do we may remove the items and charge you a reasonable cost for doing this. If you do not pay, we may request a Money Judgement Order, which could affect your ability to obtain credit in the future
  • you must not plant large, fast growing shrubs or trees in a place, which might cause a nuisance to neighbours, or damage property
  • if plants or trees do cause a nuisance, you must prune or remove them as necessary
  • you must not remove, alter, replace or plant any boundary hedge or fence at the property without getting our written permission first. You may be recharged for work that the Housing Department must carry out if a boundary fence or hedge is removed and not replaced to a satisfactory standard.


Hate Crime
The Housing Department is duty bound to investigate incidents that involve council tenants, but the current procedure also covers

  • people who visit council tenants
  • people in council hostels
  • prospective tenants visiting a council property
  • staff on visits to council properties
  • Private tenants, Housing Association tenants and people who own their own home who are being subjected to hate crime or harassment by council tenants.

If the complaint involves a council tenant or member of staff, the council can take action against the perpetrator. These incidents should be reported to the local housing team. Depending upon the seriousness of the incident or severity of the hate crime or harassment, the complainant may choose to report the matter to the police as well on 0345 113 5000

Where the hate crime has lead to an aggravated assault this should be reported to both the police and the local housing team. This should be done in a timely manner as the council have powers to obtain injunctions and if this is done quickly enough they can be obtained immediately. See the 'Injunctions' section in the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.



Harassment
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

You, your friends and relatives and any other person living in or visiting the property (including children) must not:


  • harass anyone in the local area, for example because of their colour, race, ethnic or national origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, mental illness, actual or perceived HIV status
  • harass, or threaten to harass, or use violence towards anyone in the local area
  • harass, or threaten to harass, or use violence towards our employees, councillors, anyone contracted to do work for the city council or elected tenant representatives.

Therefore the council can take action to enforce these tenancy conditions by way of an injunction, or where deemed more appropriate seeking to take possession of a tenant's home.

Incidents and behaviour deemed as harassment whether the complainant or the perpetrator is a council tenant should be reported to the local housing team as soon as possible. In these circumstances it may be that the police and the council investigate such complaints and action could be taken jointly, or independently by both organisations.



Noise
Playing loud music, especially if done at unsociable hours and on a frequent basis can be regarded as antisocial behaviour if it causes a nuisance to others.

Noise nuisance may also be domestic related, such as residents of the property banging and shouting continuously, or slamming doors.

If a council tenant is involved and you wish to make a complaint about this kind of behaviour you should contact your housing team in the first instance. They will be able to liase with Public Health who can work with them to investigate your complaint.



Premises Closure Orders
The power is inserted into a new Part 1A of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 which provides for issuing closure notices and making closure orders.

Premises closure orders are tenure neutral powers that can be used to offer communities immediate respite by temporarily closing premises for three months that are responsible for:

  • significant and persistent disorder
  • persistent serious nuisance to a community.

The closure order gives a power to close a property completely or partially for a maximum of three months and to prevent access by any persons – even those with rights of abode or ownership.

Orders may be discharged when problems associated with the premises have been addressed. No property should remain empty longer than is necessary.

Who can use the powers?

Police forces and local authorities.

This new power is designed to tackle serious and persistent anti-social behaviour and is exercisable by a Police Officer not below the rank of superintendent or the local authority where such a person or organisation has reasonable grounds for believing:-

(a) That any time during the relevant period a person has engaged in Antisocial Behaviour on the premises; and that

(b) The use of the premises is associated with significant and persistent disorder or persistent serious nuisance to members of the public.

Grounds for an order

Police and local authorities assessing the need to issue a closure notice, must have reasonable grounds for believing that at any time in the preceding three months a person has engaged in antisocial behaviour on the premises; and

that the use of the premises is associated with significant and persistent disorder or persistent serious nuisance to members of the public.

It is up to the courts to define the terms ‘significant and persistent disorder’ or ‘persistent serious nuisance’. Actions below are suggested as guidelines for levels of nuisance which may be considered serious in this context.

  • Intimidating and threatening behaviour towards residents.
  • A significant increase in crime in the immediate area surrounding the premises.
  • The discharge of a firearm in, or adjacent to, the premises.
  • Significant problems with prostitution or sexual acts being committed in the vicinity of the premises.
  • Violent offences and crime being committed on or in the vicinity of the premises.
  • Running illegal businesses from the property.
  • Frequent drunken parties.
  • Serious disorder associated with alcohol abuse, for example in and around drinking dens.
  • High numbers of people entering and leaving the premises at all times of the day or night and the resultant disruption they cause to residents.
  • Noise (constant/intrusive) – excessive noise at all hours associated with visitors to the property.

The action should not be taken by one agency in isolation. Both police and the local authority must consult with the other before decisions are taken. Early consultation with relevant registered social landlords and other local authority services such as social work and housing is recommended to provide advance warning of potential demands on their resources. Reasonable steps must also be taken to identify and alert those with a legal or equitable interest in the property

Premises covered

The orders are tenure neutral and apply to privately-owned properties (including owner-occupied or privately rented). The following premises are covered:

  • Flats and apartments.
  • Common areas adjacent to houses/flats.
  • Garages and sheds.
  • Factories.
  • Shops.
  • Pubs and clubs.
  • Public buildings.
  • Community centres or halls.
  • Car parks.

It is stressed that this is an order of last resort to be used only when other options have been tried or failed to work. The power should not be used as an eviction tool or a fast track to eviction.

This does not remove the obligation to tackle the Anti-Social Behaviour by following all policies and procedures. Registered Social Landlords, local authorities and Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) will still be required to consider seeking Injunctions, Anti Social Behaviour Orders and possession.

Breach of closure order

Breach of the closure order is an offence. A person guilty of an offence is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 51 weeks, a fine of £5,000, or both.



Property Alterations
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

  • you must get our written permission before you carry out alterations to the property
  • any work you have done at your property must be carried out by a competent and suitably experienced person. If we find work has been carried out in a way that has, or could, cause damage to the property or danger to someone, we will insist that you have the problem remedied, we may remedy the problem and charge you a reasonable cost for doing so
  • we will only give permission for security gates, doors or window shutters, which meet approved health and safety standards
  • you must not build a garage in your garden; put a greenhouse or shed in a shared garden, a greenhouse or shed over six feet square in a private garden without getting out written permission first. Our written permission will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed
  • even if we give our written permission, you must still get planning permission if required and meet building regulations. We will withdraw our permission if the relevant planning and other permissions are refused, and we reserve the right to ask you to remove any garage, shed, greenhouse or outhouse that causes a nuisance
  • we may ask you to remove any fencing or boundary structure you have erected if, in our opinion, it is dangerous or it causes a nuisance. If you do not remove it, we may do so and charge you a reasonable cost.


Racial harassment
The Housing Department is duty bound to investigate incidents that involve council tenants, but the current procedure also covers

  • people who visit council tenants
  • people in council hostels
  • prospective tenants visiting a council property
  • staff on visits to council properties
  • Private tenants, Housing Association tenants and people who own their own home who are being subjected to racial harassment by council tenants.

If the complaint involves a council tenant or member of staff, the council can take action against the perpetrator. These incidents should be reported to the local housing team. Depending upon the seriousness of the incident or severity of the harassment, the complainant may choose to report the matter to the police as well on 0345 113 5000

Where the harassment has lead to a racially aggravated assault this should be reported to both the police and the local housing team. This should be done in a timely manner as the council have powers to obtain injunctions and if this is done quickly enough they can be obtained immediately. See the 'Injunctions' section in the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.



Sports and ball games
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

You, your friends and relatives and any other person living in or visiting the property (including children) must not:

  • do anything, which interferes which is likely to cause a nuisance to anyone in the local area
  • do anything, which interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of other people living in the local area.

The following are breaches of the Conditions of tenancy and will always be classed as antisocial behaviour:

  • blocking communal areas
  • playing ball games in areas where this is prohibited
  • damaging property including cars and bikes.

The following is classed as antisocial behaviour when it causes a nuisance:

  • playing ball games close to people's homes or buildings
  • skateboarding, roller-skating and cycling on footpaths, balconies and communal areas
  • not exercising adequate parental control.


Verbal Abuse
Verbal abuse and offensive gestures are classed as antisocial behaviour, and therefore such behaviour is a breach of these conditions and should not be tolerated. The council can take action against tenants behaving in this way and actions should be reported to your local housing team.


Vandalism and graffiti
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

You, your friends and relatives and any other person living in or visiting the property (including children) must not:


  • intentionally damage property. If you intentionally damage the city council's property, we will seek compensation, using the courts as necessary.

Writing and spraying graffiti and damaging property - including cars and bikes is classed as antisocial behaviour. If an incident of criminal damage involves a council tenancy this must be reported to your local housing team. If council property is being defaced, please contact your local housing team and the police.




Vehicles and parking
The Conditions of Tenancy state:

If you are a council tenant or the owner of the vehicle in question is, you must not:

  • park any vehicle anywhere on the property unless the property has a garage, parking space or a drive with a dropped kerb
  • double park vehicles, or park in a way which causes obstructions to pedestrians or other road users, including the emergency services vehicles
  • park any vehicle in an area not designated for parking, for example on the paved or tarmacked area outside a multi-storey block of flats, on a designated area set aside for emergency vehicles, or block access for emergency vehicles or refuse collection vehicles
  • store or repair motorbikes inside your property or in the shared areas
  • park any motor home, caravan, boat, trailer or business vehicle, which weighs more than one ton at the property
  • park any motor home, caravan, boat which is illegal, is not roadworthy, or is in disrepair on any land belonging to us. If you do, we may remove the vehicle. You will be charged a reasonable cost for its removal.