Last week, the NHF published its final version of its new Code of Governance and made some important changes from the previous draft that will impact on those housing associations looking to adopt it.
Commencement Order recently published means that from 13 May 2014 and onwards, the new riot related discretionary possession ground, changes to the existing ASB ground and various community remedies come into force.
Two Changes to Discretionary ASB Grounds for Possession (England only)
The Act creates a new discretionary riot-related offences ground for possession in respect of secure and assured tenancies by inserting a new Ground 2ZA into Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1985 (for secure tenants) and a new Ground 14ZA into Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 (for assured tenants).
Both these grounds will apply if, after 13 May 2014:
“A tenant or adult residing in a dwelling house in England has been convicted of an indictable offence which took place during, and at the scene of, a riot in the United Kingdom” (section 99 of the Act).
The Act also extends the scope of the existing ASB grounds (Ground 2, Schedule 2, Housing Act 1985 for secure tenants and Ground 14, Schedule 2, Housing Act 1988 for assured tenants). A new part (aa) is added to both Grounds to cover nuisance to the landlord or their employees so that a Court may make a possession order if:
“The tenant or person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house in England has been guilty of conduct
(aa) causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to the landlord....or a person employed (whether or not by the landlord) in connection with the exercise of the landlord's housing management functions....and that is directly or indirectly related to or affects those functions" (Section 98 of the Act).
Don’t forget to start using the amended Ground 14 in your NSPs and court papers after 13 May.
Section 101 of the Act has introduced provisions to allow a community focused response to low level ASB.
Under the Act each local policing body must prepare a Community Remedy Document ("CRD") for its area. The CRD is a list of actions which could be applied to a person who has engaged in ASB or has committed an offence but where court proceedings are not being pursued. Under the Act, the relevant policing body must consult relevant community members in preparing the CRD.
Response to Complaints of ASB
Section 104 of the Act introduces a provision to ensure that relevant bodies (as defined in the Act) adequately respond to complaints of ASB.
Where a person has made a complaint about ASB in a certain area, the relevant bodies in that area must carry out a review of the response to the ASB, known as an ASB case review, if;
- The complainant asks for such a review; or
- The relevant bodies think that the threshold for a review is met.
The Act also introduces various other minor provisions and amendments to existing legislation. Those which are relevant to housing providers include the following:
- Section 106 of the Act (effective from 13 May 2014) amends the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 making it an offence not to keep dogs under proper control not just in public spaces but also in private residences (although there is an exception where an intruder enters the property). The police will now have a new power to seize dogs from private residences if they appear to be dangerously out of control.
- Section 152 and Schedule 10 (effective from 13 May 2014) allows for increased powers for community support officers e.g. to issue fixed penalty notices in certain circumstances which include when individuals are causing a nuisance riding on a footpath.
- Section 120 and 121 (effective from 16 June 2014) create new offences of breaching a forced marriage protection order and forcing somebody to enter into a marriage against their will.
- Sections 108 to 111 (effective from 14 July 2014) introduce relatively minor changes to the firearm laws, which includes amendments which are aimed at strengthening the offence of possessing a firearm.
We will publish further briefings as an when Commencement Orders are made. In the interim please click here to read our previous e-briefings which summarise the main housing related new provisions introduced by the Act.
Our Housing Litigation team will be running an interactive training session on the morning of 4 June 2014 highlighting the significant changes being introduced by the Act, particularly focusing on the amendments under the Act in respect of injunction and possession proceedings. For more information and to book, please click here.
For more information
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