Judges get power to fast-track eviction of nasty neighbours


Judges are to be given new powers to fast-track the eviction of tenants who harass their neighbours.

Under present laws it can take more than a year to evict perpetrators of anti-social behaviour even if there is the clear evidence of abuse.

Today the Government will announce new rules giving judges the automatic power to order the eviction of tenants who have already received an anti-social behaviour order.

They would then be considered to have made themselves "intentionally homeless" and councils would have no obligation to re-house them.

But critics of the proposals warn that anti-social neighbours will merely be moved from house to house without addressing the root causes of their behaviour.

Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, will also announce a joint working group with the Ministry of Justice to look at other ways of speeding up the lengthy eviction process.

There will also be a fund established to create a new team which will provide tenants and landlords with advice on eviction procedures.

Responding to reports of anti-social behaviour costs government agencies about £3.4bn a year and MPs from both political parties say it is one of the most distressing and intractable problems they face in constituency surgeries.

Measures to tackle anti-social behaviour were first introduced in the mid-1990s, and since then more and more powers and measures have been added.

ASBOs were first introduced in 1998. In 2003 the Home Office formed the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit with an annual budget of £25m. In September 2005, the Government announced the creation of the cross- government Respect Task Force to take forward the anti-social behaviour agenda and in January 2006 it published the Respect Action Plan.

Ministers believe this swifter process for evicting nuisance tenants will act as a deterrent.

Mr Shapps said: "Like many MPs one of things which crops up time and again in constituency surgeries is the difficulty communities have in evicting neighbours who blight their lives with anti-social behaviour.

"One of the things it shocked me as a minister to discover was that even if someone has already been given an ASBO that doesn't necessarily count as cause in eviction proceedings. I want to change this and give judges automatic grounds for eviction in such cases as well as speeding the eviction process up in general."

But Kay Boycott, the charity Shelter's director of campaigns, said it was a blunt tool. "Removing courts' discretionary powers and forcing them to evict people, despite possible extenuating circumstances, is a blunt tool to deal with a complicated problem," she said. "Something as critical as whether someone might be made homeless is surely too important to be left to the discretion of a landlord who may not be wholly impartial.

"Considering competing claims and the evidence involved in these complex cases should be left to the courts, particularly where cases involve tenants with a mental health problem, disability or where children are involved."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you that teacher who c...

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you that teacher who c...

IT Auditor

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: IT Auditor , Information Governance, NHS...

Process Improvement Analyst (Testing)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform