Housing Associations ‘Lead The Way’ In Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour

Housing associations are making full use of their tools and powers in responding to anti-social behaviour (ASB), according to new Housing Corporation research.

79% of housing associations are actively making use of legal powers for tackling more serious anti-social behaviour incidents, making use of at least one of the four main legal powers (anti-social behaviour order (ASBO), injunction, possession action and demotion order).

The research, carried out by Heriot-Watt University, looks into how housing associations are making use of both newly acquired and longer established legal responses to disorder, as well as the other forms of action being taken to combat the problem.

Key findings include:

  • The vast majority of housing associations (79%) are actively making use of legal powers for tackling more serious ASB incidents.
  • Housing associations are also making extensive use of non-legal responses to ASB – especially in the form of acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs) and mediation.
  • The nature of ASB faced by particular housing associations is highly influenced by the character of an association’s housing stock; flats in converted buildings are liable to generate noise complaints, whilst landlords managing estates are more likely to face youth disorder.
  • Whilst there may be a perception that ASB complaints are on the increase, there is little evidence that underlying rates of misconduct are rising.

Housing Corporation Acting Chief Executive Steve Douglas said: “Every tenant has the absolute right to enjoy their homes and community safe in the knowledge that unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with quickly and firmly. I am delighted at the evidence that housing associations are using the full armoury of preventative, support and enforcement tools to tackle anti-social behaviour wherever it occurs.”

Prof Hal Pawson, School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, said: “Housing associations appear to be making considerable use of the broader range of powers made available to them since 2004. Anti-social behaviour injunctions are providing a particularly popular measure.  However, we were interested to find that anti-social behaviour injunctions, or sometimes ASBOs, are sometimes used in parallel with eviction, rather than instead of.”

The Housing Corporation is currently considering the study’s recommendation that further guidance on ASB is produced.