Anti Social Behaviour - Common Misconceptions.
The anti-social behaviour team at Magna frequently receives complaints about alleged anti social behaviour. Each case that we receive needs to be thoroughly investigated in order to show that a consistent and ongoing breach of tenancy is occurring.
This can lead to frustrations on behalf of those complaining due to the necessary time scale involved and also because at times there may be unrealistic objectives.
Below are just some of the misconceptions we encounter.
There’s no point in filling in the Incident Diary
The incident diaries are vital when reporting and dealing with anti social behaviour. They mean we can look for patterns of anti social behaviour (ASB) and see whether the problem is consistent and ongoing. You will probably be asked to complete a number of incident diaries and these help us to decide the most appropriate plan of action to tackle the behaviour.
Likewise, as the person filling in the diary is the person being immediately affected by the behaviour, they are the best people to tell us what is actually happening.
It has been going on for six months, but I haven’t reported it before
We fully understand that people may be reluctant to report incidents of ASB. They may wait to see if it continues before reporting it.
However, although we will certainly want to know what has been happening, it is important that we are told about the incident at the time. We can’t take action on events that took place a number of months or years ago. We have to demonstrate a persistent and ongoing nuisance so it’s very important you tell us as and when it happens.
You should just evict the trouble maker
All tenants have a tenancy agreement that is legally binding and which offers protection. In order to make an alteration to the agreement, we have to go through the courts. Courts only expect Magna to consider legal remedies once we have exhausted every other option.
Once we've received a complaint about ASB we need to consider informal measures first. These include warning letters, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Mediation to name just some. If Magna has not looked in to these, the court will not be satisfied that we attempted to resolve the problem.
Sometimes, after following our processes and making use of all the tools available to us, we find that some cases cannot be resolved due to a clash of personalities and/or lifestyles.
This has been going on for months and nothing is being done
Trying to solve complaints about ASB can be a long and frustrating process. There will be times when the person complaining will feel annoyed that there appears to be nothing happening. We can assure you that this is not the case.
Unfortunately, if the person committing the ASB (the perpetrator) doesn’t listen to our requests to change their behaviour, we then need to prove that the behaviour has not changed and is continuing at a persistent level. Remember the key words - persistent and ongoing nuisance.
I need to be moved
Often we are asked to move people when there is anti-social behaviour. Whilst this may offer immediate respite for a complainant, it does not tackle the problem itself. Likewise, to move the alleged perpetrator only moves the problem. We are keen to resolve issues, not to disperse them to another area.
I am scared that if I complain my windows may be smashed
You can be confident that we do not disclose the source of the complaint without your consent.
I can’t contact you urgently because I have no landline or mobile phone
The ASB Team are able to provide mobile telephones for those with no other means of communication, whilst the case is being investigated.
Magna has the power to arrest and evict people
Remember we are the landlord not law enforcement. If a person is committing a crime you should call the police. Magna works closely with the police to ensure the safety of our residents but has no powers of arrest or eviction directly.
There are formal measures that we can implement, including injunctions, Anti Social Behaviour Orders and demotion of tenancy. A demoted tenancy reduces the security of a tenancy.
Possession or eviction is always the last resort and needs to be ordered by court. A court will only evict someone if we have demonstrated that every other alternative has been tried to resolve the situation.