The Government has announced plans to enable landlords to give antisocial tenants just two weeks’ notice of eviction, instead of the normal four weeks.
This change forms part of the Government’s Antisocial Behaviour Action Plan, which also covers other measures including controls on antisocial behaviour while staying in an Airbnb.
The Government found that one in three private tenancies was ended by landlords due to tenants’ antisocial behaviour.
Where the antisocial behaviour is low-level but high impact, there will be improved mediation services provided for landlords, with the aim of supporting the landlord whilst helping prevent eviction. Mediation will be provided through the new Ombudsman planned in the Renters’ Reform Bill.
Where the antisocial behaviour is sustained, intimidating or disruptive, the grounds for eviction will be “faster and easier to prove”. The eviction will be prioritised where the cause is antisocial behaviour.
What is antisocial behaviour?
The action plan broadens, as well as clarifies, what is defined as antisocial behaviour:
- Intimidatory behaviour, such as threatening or unruly behaviour, drunkenness, harassment and loitering in public spaces
- Drug use, and the paraphernalia, mess and disruption that can go with it
- Vandalism, graffiti, fly-tipping and littering
- Disruptive neighbours consistently playing loud music or letting their dog bark all night
What will landlords need to do?
Landlords will need to update their tenancy agreement to include clauses that specifically ban antisocial behaviour as a breach of contract and state that the eviction notice period for such breaches of the tenancy agreement will be two weeks, rather than four.
The two week eviction notice forms part of the Renters’ Reform Bill plans to change Section 8 evictions.
The impact on social housing
While social housing landlords already have powers to evict tenants where there is antisocial behaviour, the new Bill will give clarity on when such tenants will be bumped to the back of the queue under a “three strikes and you’re out” to deprioritise them from further social housing.
When will this change come into effect?
There is no set date as yet. The changes will be introduced as part of the Renters Reform Bill, which is due to be announced in the current 2022-2023 parliamentary session.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance