Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence

20. Memorandum submitted by the National Federation of Residential Landlords

  I have been asked to make a late submission on behalf of the "National Federation of Residential Landlords". Because of the lateness of the day and also in an attempt to bring some sense or reality into the current situation applying on the ground, I have taken the liberty of including a brief resume of a real situation that happened to me. I have also attached a document at the end illustrating some of the actions our members consider could assist those living near Anti-social Tenants.


History of a Typical Private Rented Sector Anti-social Behaviour case

Diary Notes

December 2003

  Prospective Tenant Male age 23. Working and recently living with his father. Father has just thrown him out and he is staying temporarily at a friend's already over-crowded house. No past tenancy history. Recommended by one of my tenants as being well behaved and likeable. His employer spoke highly of him. He wanted to stay in that area. Social Sector couldn't fix him up. He had no furniture therefore the Social Sector wouldn't have been any good as they do not provide furnished properties.

  Offered furnished property in semi low demand area at £60 per week. He had no bond or guarantor and would be paying weekly in advance. Unfortunately he lost his job within two weeks of moving in. He then claimed housing benefit and Job seekers allowance but there were delays all round.

  Maximum Housing Benefit could only be £45 per week because of age. Had he been in the Social Sector he would not have been subject to this totally discriminatory capping, and full rent would be paid for a property in the already subsidised sector could he have found one. No income at all as delays in JSA claim. Therefore HB couldn't be paid. Complaints started coming in from neighbours about noise/CD player/parties at w/ends, drunkenness, fighting in the street etc. Following my having a quiet word with him it went quiet for a week or so. Unfortunately more complaints of parties of up to 15 people and loud music, fighting in street. Police called by neighbours.

  First Payment of HB £360 24 March 2004

  Arrears are now £420

  Section 8 notice served Grounds 8 and 10

  Second payment £180 to 25 April

  Arrears now £480

  More complaints I spoke to him told him to get it sorted or he would have to go

  Third Payment 19 May

  Arrears now £540

  He said he would leave as soon as he could. More complaints. Got on to Environmental Health Department re noise as did neighbours. Unfortunately Burnley don't employ a noise abatement officer for outside normal hours but they did send a warning letter.

28 May 2004

  I got called out by neighbours at 2.00 am on a Saturday morning. Music blaring out I was invited in after knocking on the door and told him to turn the music off which he did but almost immediately turned it back on again. Was this harassment?

  I had recently been made aware that he had hot wired the electric meter. I thought I could smell burning from the meter cupboard, opened it causing much shouting and consternation from the seven guests and, because of safety concerns I removed the wire, and retreated outside, quickly followed by the drunkard tenant and drunken friends. I was physically threatened by his guests and left the area, leaving the neighbours having their doors and windows attacked.

  It seems that the Police, who I and neighbours had called earlier, turned up eventually at about 3 am. They were greeted by plenty of verbal abuse, told to go away and totally ignored.

  The electricity was hot wired again and music recommenced until about 6 am. The EH people received more complaints and an official notice sent out. I called on the tenant again and told him he must leave ASAP and that I was going to submit the documents to court.

  An amended section 8 notice has been raised based on grounds 8, 10, 11 and 14. We could therefore ask for early expedition of the hearing but will have to wait for two weeks again. Section 14 will be almost impossible to prove as neighbours do not wish to go to court and fear for their own safety.

  I spoke to the tenant again who pointed out that he had removed the music player and that he didn't wish to be involved in a court hearing. He stated that he will not cause any more annoyance to neighbours and that he didn't want to lose his CD/radio as this was the only thing he owned in the world. He said that he was trying his best to find somewhere else but no one else would have him in Burnley, because of the problems he was having, he is now trying to find a place in Accrington.

June 2004

  He isn't causing a problem to neighbour at the moment and spends much of his time at a friend's house. No rent has been paid since the end of May.

  I feel concerned for him but feel that I have little choice other than to go to court. The initial cost will be £135 plus about £300 for the solicitor should I use one. The first hearing will be in about six weeks time from giving the tenant the section 8 notice. If I am successful he will be given between two and four weeks to leave by the court. If he fails to turn up the Judge will probably adjourn for two weeks. If he then fails to turn up he will be given two to four weeks to leave. Should he fail to leave at the appointed time then I will have to go to court again to arrange for a bailiff to throw him out.

  A member of our Association was told by the court Bailiffs, in a similar case, that they couldn't attend legally for four weeks following the granting of possession.

  A grand total of around 16 weeks, at a cost of around £1,000 in legal/court fees plus further loss of rent of around £1,000 totalling up to a rent loss of around £2,000

  During this time he will no doubt be continuing to cause upset to those living in the area. At this moment in time some neighbours are actively seeking to move house.

August 2004

  I have decided to bribe him out. He has accepted my offer of £200 cash coupled with a free car ride to Accrington with his belongings. The fact that he had been threatened by a gang, allegedly involved in a petrol bombing incident on the next street was probably the deciding factor from his point of view.

  He will move in with friends and is effectively homeless.

  Lost rent equates to £840

  Bribe/transport £230

  Saving on alternative course was around £1,000

  How will licensing of landlords resolve the above situation?

  Just a few thoughts added below as to what measures could be put in place to prevent similar occurrences in the future or at the very least give us the tools to deal with the problems effectively. I would point out that Ground 14 cost a Social Housing provider £60,000 in court costs, following delays and appeals.

  1.  Ensure a reversal of the Social Housing Sectors Exclusion Policy.

  2.  Allowing the police to respond to requests for information re prospective tenants from landlords.

  3.  Tenant Accreditation—or Passport type record system/Local Authority referencing systems to be put in place.

  4.  Landlord Associations to keep tenant records for use by members.

  5.  Ground 14 to be mandatory and actionable within 14 days.

  6.  Local Authorities must employ a sufficient number of Noise Abatement Officers with immediate powers of seizure.

  7.  Tenant to lose the eight weeks notice period under grounds 10, 11 and 21 when ASB ground 14a proved within reason.

  8.  Ground 8 to be modified to two weeks if ground 14 applies.

  9.  All legal cost to be payable by the tenant even if on a low income. To be deducted from DSS income if tenant or partner is in receipt of same.

  10.  Local Authorities to implemented bond schemes. Tenants to lose entitlement to bond scheme monies if ASB proven within the family or friends/visitors.

  11.  Landlords of all tenures who have a history of accepting unruly tenants and fail to engage with the Local Authority ASB teams to lose the right to manage the properties affected.

  12.  ASB referral clause to be inserted in to the tenancy agreement.

  13.  Local Authorities/subsidised social housing providers to ensure unruly tenants are housed in particular areas and swamped with those who can assist them with their problems on an ongoing daily basis.

  14.  Government to educate the general populace in respect of the individual's responsibilities to a regularly organised society.

  15.  Put the needs of the majority before the perceived rights of the minority.

25 February 2005

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2005
Prepared 5 April 2005