Response by the Portfolio
There are four broad categories of how public agencies can work
to try and resolve anti-social behaviour.
There are instances where there are no regulatory or
legal powers available to the Council or other agencies to resolve
the matter. In such cases, self-resolution is the only realistic
course of action. Examples include:
- Neighbour disputes for example disagreements over parking
- Lifestyle differences for example young children meeting in
parks unless there is evidence of criminal activity taking place,
including harassment or aggressive behaviour in which case the
matter should be referred to the Police.
- Noise that does not constitute a statutory nuisance, for example
day-to-day chatter from children, moving around flats, infrequent
dog barking or listening to a radio in a garden.
- One-off occasional (less than once per year) events such as
parties or celebrations.
intervention by Housing Services
These instances are those in which resolution rests
within the Council's powers as a landlord. These powers revolve
around tenancy law as the only sanction available to the Council as
a landlord is, ultimately, to seek possession of the home of
someone committing anti-social behaviour. This has to be done via the Courts which will usually
only consider such a sanction in the most extreme of cases, for
example where a clear criminal offence has been committed in the
property. Examples where direct intervention by Housing Services
would be appropriate include:
- Tenanted gardens causing risks to health and safety, for example
by the keeping of livestock, the storage of vehicles and machinery,
inadequate maintenance and upkeep and the accumulation of general
rubbish, waste materials, disused furniture and household waste.
- Leaving rubbish, disused furniture
and equipment (such as bicycles and scooters) in communal areas or
open spaces where they represent a hazard to other
dumped rubbish and abandoned cars – these cases will be taken
on board by Housing Services which will act as the instigator of
action by the relevant agency or service.
- Hoarding, if the extent of the hoarding is such that the health
and safety of the occupant and their immediate neighbours is at
risk from fire or the spread of disease.
Referral for intervention by other Council Services
These instances are those in which resolution is
provided for in general powers vested in the Council by virtue of
law and statute. The Council has a legal duty to take action if it
is satisfied that certain ‘statutory nuisances’ exist
or are likely to occur or reoccur. This duty is provided under the
Environmental Protection Act 1990. In most cases, such matters fall
within the remit of the Environmental Health department. In such
cases, Housing Services will refer the matter to the relevant
Council department to lead on investigation and resolution. Cases
which will be referred to other Council services are primarily
those considered to be statutory nuisances.