In the first of a series, this article examines the impact of the Derby case on how local authorities should apply and charities can claim business rate relief.
Highlighted below are some action points social landlords should note and follow up:
- 20 October 2014 is the commencement date for the introduction of the new injunctions (IPNA), criminal behaviour orders (CBOs), closure orders and mandatory possession grounds. Formal commencement orders are gradually being issued.
- The Statutory Guidance from the Home Office was published on 21 July and is now available here.
- The College of Policing elearning facility on the ASB Crime and Policing Act (“the ASB Act”) is also now available here.
Mandatory Possession Grounds
- For secure tenants, the prescribed form NSP is not the notice to use for the mandatory ground. Another notice should be used which is not in any prescribed form. If you add discretionary grounds together with the mandatory ground, you still use the separate notice and not the existing prescribed form NSP.
- The review process for secure tenants being served with a mandatory ground notice is in the ASB Act and referred to in the statutory guidance. Regulations have still to be published with further details of the procedure to follow.
- For assured tenants, the prescribed form NSP is to be used for the mandatory ground 7A too. The amended wording is already in the ASB Act and NSP templates need to be amended from 20 October. Advice is to adopt same internal review procedure as for secure tenants.
- The Statutory Guidance makes clear (in bold!) at page 59 that:
“The new absolute ground is intended for the most serious cases of antisocial behaviour and landlords should ensure that the ground is used selectively.”
- Remember the conviction/breach of injunction/breach of CBO/Closure Order/breach statutory nuisance order must have been a conviction for an incident that took place after 20 October, or of an injunction/CBO/Closure Order that was made after 20 October 2014 in order to rely on the mandatory ground.
- It may be worth considering a short delay in applying for an ASBI or an ASBO until just after 20 October 2014 so you apply instead for an IPNA or a CBO/Closure Order. You could potentially then in future rely on a breach of that new IPNA/CBO to prove a mandatory possession ground.
- CPR amendments have been published and changes come into force on 1 October 2014. The changes are minimal however.
- There are no changes to the Court forms yet, for example the power of arrest form N110A.
- No sign of change to the Criminal Procedure Rules for injunction applications in Youth Court against minors yet, but the Procedure Rules have been rewritten for CBOs – in force 6/10/2014.
- Landlord ASB policies and procedure will need to be updated to refer to the mandatory ground in particular and include your review procedure.
- Sign up processes for new tenants will need to include warnings of the potential to use the ASB mandatory ground. This is required by the Statutory Guidance (see page 60).
- Do check tenancy terms, particularly on old agreements, which may be restrictive in describing the possession grounds that can be used before serving a mandatory ground NSP/notice.
- Many ASB teams and neighbourhood teams have now undergone some training on the ASB Act. As 20 October approaches, clearly the need to review the detail of the legislation and rules is becoming more pressing, particularly for those teams that undertake DIY injunction and possession claims themselves in Court. We are providing extensive training to a number of our clients so do contact us to discuss your requirements.
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