MANDATORY GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION WHERE A TENANT IS GUILTY OF ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
The normal way in which a landlord tackles a tenant whom he/she wishes to evict for anti-social behaviour, is by relying on the no fault Section 21 basis of obtaining possession. This is, however, not possible during the first six months of the tenancy. Recent legislation may help landlords in certain situations although their scope is limited. These grounds for possession apply equally to private landlords and social landlords.
Mandatory Grounds for Possession for anti social behaviour
As from 20th October 2014 there are five mandatory conditions under which a landlord can obtain possession where a tenant is guilty of anti-social behaviour. In the case of the first four situations the tenant, a member of the tenant's household or a person visiting the property has been -
- Convicted of a serious criminal offence and the offence was committed on or after the 20th October 2014.
- It has been found by the Court to have breached an anti-social behaviour injunction (obtained under Section 1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 (ABCPA 2014).
- Convicted for a breach of Criminal Behaviour Order obtained under Section 22 of ABCPA 2014.
- Convicted of a breach of a notice or order to reduce their noise in relation to the tenant's property under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The offence must have been committed on or after the 20th October 2014, or
- The tenant's property has been closed under a closure order obtained under Section 80 of ABCPA 2014 (what used to be known as a crack house order) as a result of anti-social behaviour in or near the property and the total period of closure must be a continuous period of more than 48 hours. This applies whether the closure is under the order itself or under a preceding closure notice which has to be served before the closure order can be made.
For conditions 1, 2 and 3 to apply the offence or anti social conduct must have been committed either in the property itself or in the locality of the property. Alternatively, it must have affected a person with a right to live in the property itself or in the locality, or the landlord or a person connected to the landlord’s housing management functions.
Mandatory Ground for Possession
There is a new Mandatory Ground 7A for possession in this situation and if the circumstances are proven then the Court must make an order for possession.
Notice Period for Possession under Ground 7a
A Section 8 Notice must be given. When the landlord relies on Ground 7a the minimum notice period must not be less than:
(a) if the tenancy is periodic, the earliest date on which the tenancy could be brought to an end by a notice to quit given by the landlord on the same day as the notice under this section; ie a minimum of one months calendar notice in the case of monthly tenancies and four weeks notice otherwise. If the tenancy is quarterly then 3 months notice must be given. The notice must always run out on the last day of a period of the tenancy.
(b) in the case of a fixed term, one month after the date of the service of the notice.
Notice can only be served within 12 months of the conviction or closure order for Conditions 1,2,3 or 5 and within 3 months of the court's findings for Condition 4. Where appeals are held for these grounds, the date of the appeal's resolution should be used.
Discretionary Ground for Possession
Separately, there is a discretionary ground for possession in the event of the tenant committing a nuisance or annoyance. However, in order to rely on this ground not only do you have to prove it but you also have to satisfy the Court that it is reasonable to make an order for possession. Again a Section 8 Notice must be given but it can be given on the same day as the Court proceedings are commenced.