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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Antisocial behaviour doesn't have to result in eviction

Incidents of antisocial behaviour are on a spectrum; they can range from occurrences of excessive noise, right through to serious criminal behaviour. It can affect everyone in a community. When behaviour is persistent and wilful, the right remedies should be used to address the problem.

There are also cases of antisocial behaviour that arise through misunderstandings, where the behaviour may be connected to mental health and/or disability issues.

If the situation is not managed correctly it can have an extremely detrimental impact on all those involved.

Eviction as a last resort

Social landlords in Northern Ireland (NIHE and Housing Associations) have a number of powers at their disposal to deal with tenants who exhibit antisocial behaviour, including eviction. This behaviour in question can stem from the tenant, or from others living in, or visiting, the property. Eviction of any tenant from social housing should only be used when all other options are exhausted.

As social landlords are public bodies, they are legally bound by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, that states the right to respect for family and private life and the home is protected. Guidance issued by the Department of Social Development states that repossession should be seen as a last resort. Wherever possible, alternative remedies should be exhausted before legal action starts e.g. mediation, acceptable behaviour contracts.

In addition, case law had provided a wealth of jurisprudence on this topic; highlighting the obligations of social housing providers.  Although the guidance stresses the importance of investigating other methods to resolve disputes it also states "in some circumstances it will be appropriate and proportionate for the Executive to seek an order an order for possession at the outset".  

Any tenants who are threatened with possession due to accusations of antisocial behaviour should contact the Housing Rights helpline on 028 90245640 for advice and assitance. 

Find out more on our upcoming course Antisocial Behaviour and Housing

Housing Rights has a training course on antisocial behaviour and housing on 3 August (Belfast) and 4 August (Derry/Londonderry). The course will include alternatives to eviction and how appropriate engagement with services can be key. It will also

  • obligations of the tenant and social landlord prior to taking action
  • procedures for tackling antisocial behaviour
  • pre and post court options for tenant and landlords
  • re-housing options
  • mitigating circumstances and alternative remedies
  • relevant case law on antisocial behaviour and how this should shape both social landlord’s approach and tenant’s behaviour
  • recent changes to the law surrounding information sharing and antisocial behaviour

If you'd like us to deliver tailor this course to deliver it specifically for your staff please contact Bronagh McCulla, our Training Officer.

Tagged In

Regulation, Social Tenancies

This article was written on 27 July 2016. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.