Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB)
Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) can have a big impact on the quality of life in the home and community.
We ask that you respect where you live and have consideration for your neighbours. However we know that this doesn’t always happen. Our Homes & Neighbourhood Team investigate reports of anti-social behaviour and look to resolve cases through early intervention and restorative practices.
Where behaviour does not improve and we can evidence behaviour that is having a persistent or serious effect on the community, we may use legal enforcement.
In 2022, we signed the Safer Gloucestershire Anti-social behaviour pledge to promise that ASB will be taken seriously, made easier to report and tackled in partnership.
We work in partnership with agencies such as the Police, Council and Victim Support. Whilst we take all reports of ASB seriously and encourage tenants to report incidents to us, we also encourage you to contact relevant agencies who specialise in the behaviour that you are reporting.
ASB is defined as conduct
- That has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person.
- Capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises.
- Capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person.
A member of our Homes & Neighbourhood team will contact you to agree an action plan. We may ask you to complete diary sheets or consider entering into mediation with the person responsible.
Some reports can be resolved at an early stage, whilst other cases may require collating evidence. It is important, where there is persistent ASB, we can provide evidence of the dates, times and details of the incidents and how that this has impacted upon you and/or the local community.
If we are required to go to court we will ask you to provide a witness statement and to attend court to give evidence.
Criminal Activity can include:
- Drug dealing
- Illicit drug use
- Violent or threatening behaviour
- Hate crime
- Criminal damage
- sexual assault
If you are in immediate need of assistance, or if a crime is in progress, then phone 999. To report to the police please phone 101 (non-emergency number) or report online at www.gloucestershire.police.uk/contact-us/report-a-crime-or-incident. If you wish to report crime anonymously then you can report through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report online at crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information
If you do make a report to the Police, please let GCH know that this has happened along with any incident/crime numbers.
We take criminal behaviour in our properties and on our estates very seriously. If you are a tenant and you, a member of your household, or a visitor to your address are responsible for criminal behaviour you will be putting your tenancy in jeopardy.
We will assist the police with any investigations into criminal activity at any of our properties. If a person you are responsible for is convicted we may seek legal action to end your tenancy.
No, Cannabis is a controlled substance and is classified as a Class B drug. It is illegal to use for recreational purposes. You can be arrested for being in possession of it.
Your tenancy agreement states that you must not use your property for any illegal or immoral purposes. You are breaching your tenancy if Cannabis is smoked in your property.
Where we receive complaints of Cannabis use we will work alongside partner agencies such as the Police (for enforcement) and Change Grow Live (for support). If you are impacted upon by cannabis being smoked in a neighbouring property then please report to the police as well as GCH.
Noise nuisance is a common complaint. However it can be difficult to manage due to varying tolerance levels and difficulty in evidencing noise.
If your neighbour is playing loud music, we would encourage that you approach them in the first instance (providing that you feel safe to do so) and ask them to turn the volume down as it is disturbing you in your own home. If the noise continues we will ask that you complete diary sheets to assist us in building a case.
The Council have a duty to investigate if a statutory nuisance exists. If your neighbour is persistently playing music at an excessive level (regardless of the time) then please report this to Gloucester City Council on 01452 396396 or make an online report on the Gloucester City Council website www.gloucester.gov.uk/environment-waste-recycling/nuisance/noise
We expect there be some tolerance to noise levels between neighbours, particularly for those living in flats. Noise such as:
- babies crying
- toilets flushing
- washing machines/tumble dryers
- dog barking
- children playing
- walking on floorboards
are unlikely to be a breach of tenancy (except in exceptional circumstances).
There are no set times for when music can be played at any particular volume. Noise is measured against reasonableness and the nuisance it causes to others. This can occur at any time of day or night.
ASB Case Review (also known as the Community Trigger)
Under the ASB Crime & Policing Act 2014 a process was introduced where victims and communities have the right to request a review of their case if a criteria is met. When an ASB Case Review is activated the case is independently reviewed to look at what action has previously been taken and decide whether additional actions are possible.
In Gloucestershire, the ASB Case review is run by Restorative Gloucestershire and the criteria to meet is:
- Three reports by the same person within six months
- Five reports involving the same location, culprit or problem from more than one individual or group within six months
- The application is made in reasonable time – allowing time for action to have been taken.
For further information and/or to request an ASB Case review please visit www.restorativegloucestershire.co.uk/anti-social-behaviour-case-review or phone 01452 754555
In most cases GCH are looking to resolve anti-social behaviour by early intervention and non legal remedies.
Legal remedies are only considered when early intervention and non-legal remedies have failed or where the incident is so serious that immediate legal action is required.
Early intervention actions could include:
- Warning letters
- Office interviews
- Home visits
- House to House enquiries
- Telephone / Email correspondence
Non-Legal remedies include:
- Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC’s) – this is a voluntary agreement where a series of boundaries are agreed to prevent further incidents occurring
- Voluntary Undertaking – an informal agreement between two parties to address and resolve highlighted ASB concerns/issues
- Parenting Contracts – Similar to an ABC and are agreed and signed by the parent
- Good Neighbour Agreements – A set agreement where a number of residents are asked to sign up to. This could include a number of requirements on tackling community related issues. An example of this would be to agree not to play music in the garden after 9pm
- Final warning letters – a letter informing a perpetrator that we are considering legal actions against them if the behaviour does not desist. This letter will ask that they let us know of any equality reasons as to why we should not take legal actions against them and advising that they seek legal advice about the consequences of further breaches of tenancy
- Mediation/ Restorative Justice – an independent means of bringing 2 parties together to hold a structured conversation in a professionally facilitated neutral environment. The outcome is designed to form an agreement with the parties on what is acceptable behaviour
Legal remedies include:
- Section 8 Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP) – A formal notice informing the recipient that we have an intention to seek possession of the tenancy. This remains in place for 12 months and an application to court can be made within that period.
- Possession Orders – Following a NOSP being served an application can be made to the County Court for a Possession Hearing. A Judge will hear the evidence to support a case along with any defence submitted before determining an outcome. A Judge may order an Outright Possession Order; a Suspended Possession Order; adjourn the case; or dismiss an application.
- Demotion Orders – An application to the Court may be made to demote a tenancy for a specified time period. This would effectively turn the tenancy in to an assured shorthold tenancy for the duration of an order. Whilst it is a tool available to Housing Providers, GCH believe that an application for Possession resulting in the outcome of a Suspended Order offers the same value as a Demoted order.
- Section 21 Notice – this is Notice served to end a starter tenancy where a court will have no discretion in awarding outright possession.
- Warrant of Possession – where an outright possession order is awarded by the court, an application can be made for a bailiffs warrant to carry out an eviction.
- Injunctions – These are civil orders that can be made against any person over the age of 10. The terms of an injunction usually state what behaviour should stop.
- A Without Notice Injunction can be applied for where there is an immediate risk of harm to a person.
- A Power of Arrest can be attached to an Injunction where there is a risk of harm evident
- Undertakings – these are like Injunctions however the evidence is not tested in Court. A person may agree to an Undertaking in front of a Judge and this will act as a promise to the court
- Breaches of Injunctions / Undertakings – Where there is a breach of Injunction / Undertaking, GCH may make an application to the court to enforce the order. The punishment for this is a maximum prison sentence of up to 2 years and/or an unlimited fine. If an order is breached and there is a power of arrest attached to the order, the police may arrest and process the person in the County Court.
Individual perceptions of anti-social behaviour can include a wide variety of activities. The following are examples of the types of everyday living that would not, under normal circumstances, be considered to constitute anti-social behaviour;
- Actions which amount to no more than a customer going about their normal everyday activities e.g: complaints of children playing, people staring or complaints that are not a breach of the terms of tenancy.
- Actions which amount to people not being pleasant to each other but that are not sufficiently serious to justify a landlord’s involvement e.g: people being inconsiderate or thoughtless where there is no breach of tenancy.
- Complaints about other people having lifestyles that offend others, e.g: issues about differing ways of parenting, who people socialise with, how people dress, what they do in their own homes-unless the behaviour is a breach of tenancy.”
We will only become involved in matters where we are satisfied our intervention is appropriate and will resolve the issue(s). We will not deal with matters which after investigation we consider to be:
- A difference in lifestyle, by which no actionable ASB is present
- Entrenched personal disputes
- Unintentional/accidental behaviour of children
- One off, low risk events
- Reports that are not supported by evidence
Examples of things that are not ASB;
- Mowing of lawns
- Vacuuming or excessive noise from domestic appliances
- Children playing
- Walking across a wooden floor
- Low level animal nuisance such as cats entering gardens
- Lifestyle clashes including cultural differences