Many of us have had cases where a tenant's family member or members is/are a blight on the local community. Now we are able to take action to get rid of the 'problem' family and restore tranquillity to the neighbourhood. The following information was produced by Matthew Lake of the Solicitors Weightmans LLP in the journal 'Inside Housing' dated 7 January 2015.

While the law in relation to possession claims based on anti-social behaviour is due to change shortly, this case is a useful guide.

The recent case of Greenwich Royal Borough Council v Tuitt on 24 November 2014 has cast light on when it might be appropriate to seek an order for possession against a tenant, based on anti-social behaviour not by the tenant, but by someone else in the household.

The tenant's son was part of a gang causing anti-social behaviour on the estate. He was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, breached his bail conditions and was then convicted of criminal damage.The local authority issued possession proceedings based on the tenant's son's actions and the judge ordered outright possession.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the tenant's appeal and reaffirmed the decision in the 2006 case Knowsley Housing Trust v McMullen, which found that the court is not prevented from ordering possession against a tenant who is unable to control a person in their household committing acts of anti-social behaviour.

When considering whether to make an order for possession that is applied for relying on grounds 1 and 2 in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1985, section 85a of that Act requires the court to consider a number of factors and the Court of Appeal ruled that the judge in the Greenwich case had undertaken a fair and complete review.

The judge had taken account of the tenant's son's inability to control his temper, the tenant's failed attempts to control her son, the tenant's suggestion that her son was not at fault and the tenant's failure to consider asking her son to leave the property.

While the law in relation to possession claims based on anti-social behaviour is due to change shortly, this case is a useful guide.

Peter Lewis
Consultant to DLA


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