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Changes to the Anti-Social Behaviour Policy – Your Feedback Wanted

Changes to the Anti-Social Behaviour Policy – Your Feedback Wanted

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 has brought in changes to how Housing Associations can deal with cases of anti-social behaviour.

To reflect the changes we have reviewed and updated our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy, and below is the main changes made to the Policy. This is still a draft version and we welcome your feedback.

Anti-social behaviour is a very complex issue, what feels like just a nuisance to some people can have a very severe impact on others. We assess each case individually against the definition outlined in legislation within the Anti-social Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Scottish Secure Tenancy Agreement (updated from 1st May 2019) which states:

     Anti-social means causing or likely to cause alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance to any person or causing damage to anyone's property. Harassment of a person includes causing the person alarm or distress. Conduct includes speech. A course of conduct must involve conduct on at least two occasions.

Read our proposed Anti-Social Behaviour Policy and click on the button below to find out about the main changes to our policy. 

What are the main proposed changes to the Anti-Social Behaviour Policy?

The main changes to the Anti-Social Behaviour Policy include:

Section 7 Part 2 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 extends the circumstances when we could serve a new or existing tenant with a notice converting the Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST) to a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST).

A Short Scottish Secure Tenancy gives the tenant fewer rights and less protection from eviction than a Scottish Secure Tenancy.

A Short Scottish Secure Tenancy has a fixed duration of 12 months that can be extended by a further 6 months, unless we agree to convert it to a Scottish Secure Tenancy.

There is no requirement for the anti-social behaviour to have resulted in court action when considering changing (or starting a new tenancy with) a SSST. Each case will be considered individually to ensure it is appropriate for a SSST to be granted.

Anti-social behaviour that will be considered (but not limited to) will be:

Acting in a threatening or abusive manner

Serious vandalism or damage to property

Use of property for illegal or immoral purposes including drug dealing

Use of offensive weapons

Serious noise nuisance

Persistent or recurring tenancy breaches such as failing to maintain gardens, dumping of rubbish in common areas etc.

Other factors that will be considered is the impact of the behaviour on the community, what effort the individual(s) have made to change their behaviour, issues around the vulnerability of tenants, members of the household or those affected by the behaviour and any other action that could be taken to address the behaviour.

Ending a Scottish Secure Tenancy Agreement by Court Order

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 states how a Scottish Secure Tenancy can be ended following a conviction for serious anti-social or criminal behaviour. Section 14 Part 2 of the 2014 Act states that a court does not have to consider whether it is reasonable to make an order for eviction where the landlord has grounds for recovery of possession under Schedule 2 paragraph 2 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.

These grounds are:That the tenant (or any one of joint tenants), a person residing or lodging in the house with, or subtenant of, the tenant, or a person visiting the house has been convicted of:
(a) using the house or allowing it to be used for immoral or illegal purposes, or
(b) an offence punishable by imprisonment which was committed in, or in the locality of, the house.

This means that a Scottish Secure Tenancy can be ended if someone living in or visiting the home is convicted of a serious offence in the vicinity of the house. It allows us to end the tenancy where behaviour has had a serious impact on neighbours or others in the community. A serious offence is one that the offender could have been imprisoned for, whether or not they actually were sentenced to imprisonment. If we are intending to end a Scottish Secure Tenancy in this way, we would serve a notice on the tenant advising that we intend to seek recovery of possession of the property. This is served within 12 months of the conviction (or, if it was appealed unsuccessfully, of when the appeal ended). A tenant has a right to challenge a landlord’s decision to take court action to end the tenancy on these grounds.

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Please contact our office on 0141 887 4053, or email gregrichardson@fpha.org.uk with any feedback you have.