What happens after I report antisocial behaviour?
We aim to initially respond to all new cases of antisocial behaviour (ASB) within 24 hours. We'll speak to the complainant to agree an action plan with them, which we'll then confirm in writing. We'll also contact the complainant at least once a month while the complaint remains open with us.
1. Speak to the person responsible
At first, we'll usually ask you to make a friendly approach to the neighbour causing the antisocial behaviour. This is often the simplest way to sort out issues and can stop things getting worse. They may not realise that they're causing you problems, and may change their behaviour.
You should think about what you want to say to them beforehand, and try to stay calm and reasonable. It would be helpful if you described the problem clearly, giving times, dates and what happened, and explained how it affects you and your family. It's important to remember not to react badly, and become angry and frustrated. If you do, it will weaken any case and may prevent any action that we may take later. If you retaliate, your neighbour may also be able to make a claim against you.
In cases where neighbours are complaining against each other, and we don't have the evidence to help us to take action, we may advise you to speak to your neighbour to try and resolve the situation yourself, or seek independent legal advice to look for your own solutions.
If you've suffered violent behaviour or harassment from your neighbour, or if you feel threatened by them in any way, don't try to sort things out yourself. In these circumstances, please contact us and the Police. If you're a vulnerable resident and would find it difficult to go and see your neighbour, please contact us and we'll try to provide you with support or make contact with other support agencies who can help you.
2. Non-legal action
If you've spoken to your neighbour and the situation hasn't improved, we can refer you and your neighbour to an independent mediation service. Mediation helps both parties to find out their needs, explain the issues and look at possible solutions. The mediator will listen to both sides of the story without bias and help you to come to an agreement.
Mediation is confidential and, if you're a tenant, we'll pay for the service. We may also put you in touch with the Police or an environmental health team. We can work with these agencies and other professional bodies to help sort out any issues. We can also visit your neighbour and warn them formally of the consequences of breaching their tenancy agreement or lease. Mediation will only work if there is a breach we can take action on.
3. Legal action
If non-legal remedies do not work and the behaviour continues, we'll consider taking legal action and enforcing the tenancy agreement or lease. For example, we can apply to the court for an injunction to stop certain behaviour or for a possession order against someone’s property, which may allow us to evict a tenant.
We can't take legal action without your help and support. This will involve you keeping a written record of incidents, or using a small tape recorder to describe the incident, and making a note of all dates and times to use as evidence. Please ask us for a copy of our incident diary form to record the antisocial behaviour.
If the case goes to court, we'll support you through this, making sure that you feel comfortable and safe. We'll also pay for your transport and other expenses if you're a witness. Not all cases that are referred to court result in eviction because the decision rests with the judge.
Tools and other powers
There are several other actions we can take to help stop and prevent antisocial behaviour. These include:
- Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC) or Family Contracts - These are voluntary agreements signed by the person carrying out the antisocial behaviour, us as the landlord, and any other agencies involved in stopping the behaviour. It isn't a legal document, but it can be used as evidence in court to show the perpetrator was given a chance to change their behaviour. If members of the same family each sign an ABC, this is known as a Family Contract, which works in the same way. ABCs and Family Contracts usually last up to six months.
- Parenting Contract - This is a voluntary contract between us and the parent of a young person who is carrying out antisocial behaviour. It helps the parent take responsibility for the behaviour of their child.
- Community Trigger - This gives victims and communities the right to request a review of their case, and brings organisations like us together with local councils and the Police to take a problem-solving approach to find a solution.
- Injunctions - We can apply for an injunction to stop anyone over the age of ten from committing activities that lead to antisocial behaviour.
- Repossession of your home - In line with the ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014, extreme antisocial behaviour by tenants or visitors could lead to a loss of their home. This will always be a last resort, but where necessary we'll pursue this action.
Working with other agencies
We may seek assistance from other agencies. For example, we can contact the Police to obtain evidence to support legal action and we can also seek support for our residents from social services.
The Police are able to prosecute against:
- illegal and immoral use of premises, such as drug dealing and prostitution
- dangerous dogs
- homophobic and racial incidents
- criminal damage or vandalism.
Environmental health teams are able to prosecute against:
- noise, such as very loud music
- dog fouling
- dogs barking continuously
- pollution risks, like overgrown gardens
- vermin infestation.
Social services teams are able to prosecute against:
- neglect or abuse of children
- neglect or abuse of older people
- neglect or abuse of vulnerable people at risk.