Welcome to this, the third bulletin from the Housing Team.
Topic: Commencement of Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – the Civil Injunction
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One 23 March 2015 Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 came in to force.
Section 1 of the Act allows councils, RSLs, the police, TfL, and the NHS to apply for an injunction against a person aged 10 or over to prevent antisocial behaviour. This article is focused on applications made by housing providers for whom special rules apply.
The applicant must satisfy two conditions:
For the purpose of an application by a housing provider, Section 2 defines ‘anti-social behaviour’ as ‘conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises’. It must also be housing related which means that housing providers will have to demonstrate that the conduct directly or indirectly relates to its housing management functions.
The Section 1 Injunction can be used to deal with a wide range of behaviours, including vandalism, public drunkenness, aggressive begging, irresponsible dog ownership, or noisy or abusive behaviour towards neighbours.
Injunctions have in the past focussed on prohibitions on behaviour. Section 1 Injunctions can include positive obligations (for example, to attend alcohol awareness classes, attending dog-training classes or mediation with neighbours or victims). The Act is careful to set out that provisions should not interfere with a person’s employment or education, formal responsibilities if they are a carer, any disability they may have and must not clash with the provisions of any other court order to which a person is subject. Positive obligations requiring a person to participate in an activity cannot be obtained without notice to the perpetrator, must be supervised and cannot be made subject to a power of arrest.
The court can attach a power of arrest to any prohibition or requirement in an injunction (except a positive requirement to engage in an activity). A power of arrest can be attached if the respondent has engaged or threatens to engage in behaviour which consists of the use or threat of violence against other persons, or there is a significant risk of harm to persons other than the respondent (those familiar with S.153A of the 1996 Act will note the inclusion of the word ‘or’ above).
Special provisions apply to applications against perpetrators aged 10-17. There is a consultation requirement with YOT. The application is to the Youth Court. Orders are made for a maximum of 12 months. Youths cannot be excluded from their homes. Care must be taken when considering the publication of the order obtained. The consultation requirement does not apply to without notice hearings, but is required for the return hearing.
The Guidance to the Act, published in July 2014, envisages that social landlords will only be able to apply to the court to exclude their own tenants and visitors to properties managed by them, whilst councils and the police will be the lead agencies in applying to exclude private tenants or owner-occupiers from their homes. In cases where the police or the local council is the lead agency in an application to exclude a social tenant they should consult the landlord. If the exclusion is applied against someone in privately rented accommodation or in residential leasehold housing, the police force or council should, where circumstances permit, inform and consult the landlord beforehand.
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Elizabeth England is a member of the 42 Bedford Row Property Team, and specialises in all aspects of Housing Law.