One of the things that we come across as a Factor and Letting Agents is anti-social behaviour, either people on the receiving end or people accusing our clients. It can be a very delicate issue to deal with. As a letting agent we must be aware of our landlords obligations to their neighbours. Equally we have to be aware of the possibility of a neighbours fallout leading to a malicious accusation and there have been more than one occasions where a tenant of ours has come under unfair scrutiny simply because there is the only rented property in a block and the accusation has been made simply on the fact that they are new to the building.
There is no precise definition of antisocial behaviour. Broadly, it is acting in a way that causes or is likely to cause alarm or distress to one or more people in another household. To be antisocial behaviour, the behaviour must be persistent. There may be a fine line between antisocial behaviour and disputes between neighbours over relatively minor inconveniences, although these may, if persistent, become antisocial behaviour.
Antisocial behaviour can include: Noise; shouting, swearing and fighting; intimidation of neighbours and others through threats or actual violence; harassment, including racial harassment or sectarian aggression. Or verbal abuse; bullying of children in public recreation grounds, on the way to school or even on school grounds, if normal school disciplinary procedures do not stop the behaviour; abusive behaviour aimed at causing distress or fear to certain people, for example, elderly or disabled people; driving in an inconsiderate or careless way, for example, drivers congregating in an area for racing; dumping rubbish; animal nuisance, including dog fouling; vandalism, property damage and graffiti.
If you want to take action about antisocial behaviour you should first try and establish who is responsible for the behaviour. It is also important to establish whether the behaviour is deliberate or unintentional.
You can ask your landlord to take action about antisocial behaviour. You should find out whether the landlord has a policy and procedure for dealing with antisocial behaviour. Local authority landlords must have antisocial behaviour strategies in place.
Our Director Brian Gilmour is the fortnightly property guru on the Kaye Adams Programme in Radio Scotland (Mr Blue Sky if you listen) and as someone with over 25 years experience in the property market, we thought our he would be well placed to answer some typical questions on anti-social behaviour and what to do
Q When it comes to neighbours, what normally constitutes anti social behaviour?
A: There is no strict definition for antisocial behaviour. Broadly however it is acting in a way that causes or is likely to cause alarm or distress to one or more people in another household, the overriding thing is that for it to be antisocial, behaviour needs to be persistent.
Q What do you do if your neighbours are continuously being disruptive?
A:If your neighbours are being constantly disruptive, obviously the ideal situation would be to speak to them directly but that’s not always possible. If you are feeling intimidated you should call the police, additionally many local authorities have a specific antisocial behaviour team that you can contact and it will always be in confidence.
Q Who is the best person to contact in this instance?
A:If it’s a privately owned property, always contact the local authority antisocial behaviour team and/or the police. If you are in a block of flats you may have a property factor and you may find it worthwhile to contact them. If the antisocial behaviour is coming from a rented property, you can contact Landlord Registration or go onto the Landlord Registration website and you will be able to get the details of the registered landlord, you can contact them and/or their letting agency.
Q What happens if your neighbour continues making noise after they’ve been given a Warning Notice?
A: If this continues after being given a warning notice, is eventually this becomes a police matter and it’ll be for the courts to take action.
Q What if you have complained but the noise continues, what should you do next?
A: If you make complaints and the noise continues, then the local authority and the police will need to step in. And if this is a noise issue, they can take recordings of the noise. They can take recordings of when the noise is happening, and eventually it will be up to them to enforce an ASBO on the person.
Q What happens if you’ve made multiple complaints?
A: Eventually, you could have a situation where the person has to provide you with an apology and stop their behaviour or they may have to get rehoused. If you and/or your neighbour are governed or are tenants of a racist or social landlord, then alternative accommodation may be necessary, and the people could even be forcibly evicted or removed.
For more help on anti-social behaviour click on the following;
North Lanarkshire – https://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=11090
Indigo Square are registered with the Scottish Government as Letting Agency and Registered Property Factor.
Mr Brian Gilmour can be heard on the Kaye Adams Programme on Tuesdays between 10:30am and 12 noon