When seeking a possession order due to anti-social behaviour, landlords currently rely on discretionary ground 2 Housing Act 1985 or ground 14 Housing Act 1988, depending on the type of landlord.
Both grounds are not limited to the behaviour of just the tenant; they extend to anti-social behaviour caused by members of the household and visitors to the property.
In the case of Greenwich Borough Council v Tuitt in November 2014, the Court of Appeal reaffirmed that a possession order can be made against a tenant where the anti-social behaviour is caused not by that tenant but by a member of the tenant's household.
The judgment made reference to the earlier case of Knowsley Housing Trust v McMullen . That case decided that there is no general principle that an order for possession, whether immediate or suspended, should not be made where the tenant could not control the activities of the person in her household responsible for the nuisance.
In Greenwich Borough Council v Tuitt, Ms Tuitt was the tenant of Greenwich Borough Council and lived at the property with her son. In 2012 a number of allegations involving anti-social behaviour were made against Ms Tuitt's son, and later that year he was involved in the assault of a caretaker on the estate and was convicted in 2013.
As part of his bail conditions, Ms Tuitt's son was not to return to the estate. He broke these conditions on at least four occasions and also caused criminal damage on the estate. Greenwich Borough Council issued possession proceedings against Ms Tuitt and an outright possession order was made.
At the appeal hearing it was held that the district judge had correctly considered all the necessary factors, such as whether it was reasonable to make a possession order and whether the possession order should be suspended before making an outright order for possession against the tenant.
The new absolute grounds for possession in Part 5 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which has not yet come in to force, give the court the power to grant possession orders if any of the five conditions set out in the grounds are met. All five conditions cover the behaviour of the tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling house.
The wording used in the five conditions of the new absolute ground for possession suggests that the court decisions in Knowsley Housing Trust v McMullen and Greenwich Borough Council v Tuitt are here to stay, even when the changes to the law relating to ASB and possession claims come into force.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.