Dealing with anti-social behaviour in any type of property can be difficult.
Shared properties that are HMOs have extra requirements relating to managing this type of behaviour. The HMO manager must have a policy or plan to deal with any anti-social behaviour caused by or affecting the people living in the HMO.
What counts as anti-social behaviour?
Anti-social behaviour is acting or threatening to act in a way that causes or could annoyance to other people in the neighbourhood. It includes things like:
- Violence or threatening violence;
- Hate crimes;
- Hosting noisy parties, having music or television turned up very loud or otherwise causing a noise disturbance;
- Having unsightly rubbish, litter or discarded items left around the property and its exterior;
- Offensive drunkenness;
- Intimidating or harassing other people;
- Using your accommodation for unlawful purposes, such as selling or using drugs.
Reporting anti-social behaviour
Your HMO manager should have a policy in place to deal with anti-social behaviour. You should report any concerns to this person first. They should keep a log of all complaints and of any action they took to try to solve the issue.
How should the manager respond to a complaint about anti-social behaviour?
A complaint about anti-social behaviour could come from someone living in the house or from anyone else, such as a neighbour or local business.
The HMO manager should log all complaints, and has a number of different ways to deal with the issue. They should investigate the issue to see if there is anything that can be done to prevent it from happening again.
The HMO manager could try to deal with the matter informally, by having a discussion with the person causing the problem; but they can also take more formal action such as reporting the matter to the police or taking steps to evict the person causing problems.
Your landlord can seek an injunction if you are being subjected to anti-social behaviour which presents a significant risk of harm. An injunction can prevent the person causing the problem from behaving in a certain way or even from being in the neighbourhood.
Accused of anti-social behaviour
The HMO manager has to take all reports of anti-social behaviour seriously. This person should talk to you if you’ve been accused of poor behaviour. You should explain any contributing factors, particularly if the issue wasn’t your fault.
The HMO manager may tell your guarantor about the issue and, if you are a student, they may even notify your college if it is a serious issue.
The HMO manager could use a mediation service, particularly if the complaint has come from a neighbour and it isn’t clear that one party is fully to blame for the problems.
Serious anti-social behaviour may be reported to the police or other relevant authorities. Ultimately, you could be asked to leave the property because of ongoing anti-social behaviour. Get advice if this happens to you.