The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 was given royal assent in March 2014.
This Act includes an amendment to the Housing Act 1988 bringing new mandatory grounds to ground 7 (ground 7A) for possession based on a tenant’s anti-social behaviour.
The changes affect the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) although the provisions affecting it are not yet in force. They will await a Commencement Order.
Part 5 of the Act and the following sections 94 to 100 will apply:
- Recovery of possession of dwelling-houses: anti-social behaviour grounds
- Absolute ground for possession: secure tenancies
- 94. New ground for serious offences or breach of prohibitions etc
- 95. Notice requirements for new ground
- 96. Review requirements for new ground
- Absolute ground for possession: assured tenancies (includes ASTs)
- 97. Corresponding new ground and notice requirements for assured tenancies
- Discretionary grounds: secure and assured tenancies
- 98. Conduct causing nuisance to landlord etc (includes ASTs)
- 99. Offences connected with riot
- 100. Restrictions where new possession proceedings in progress etc
The new 1988 Housing Act ground 7A
Pain Smith solicitors give the following summary in their blog:
“The new ground 7A of schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 will provide landlords with grounds for possession if any one of 5 conditions are met:
1. the tenant and/or another occupier or visitor has been convicted of a serious offence and that offence took place in or near the property; or elsewhere but against a tenant/occupier of the property; or against the landlord or agent
2. the tenant/occupier or visitor has breached an injunction to prevent nuisance and annoyance (which is a new injunction to be introduced under this act)
3. the tenant/occupier or visitor has breached a criminal behaviour order ( also new order under this act) and that breach was in or near the property, or caused or was likely to cause harassment to a tenant/occupier or landlord/agent, wherever it took place.
4. the property has been closed down under s73 of the Act. The court has a power to prohibit entry to a property where the use of the premises has resulted in or likely to result in serious nuisance to members of the public.
5. the tenant is in breach of an abatement notice relating to statutory nuisance ( breach of Environmental Protection Act 1990 or noise nuisance
The grounds will not be made out if the conviction is in the process of appeal, or has been overturned.
There are time limits: for example for 1,3 and 5 the notice must be served within 12 months of the conviction; for 2 within 12 months of the court making its finding; and for 4 within 3 months of the closure order.
The date that the notice expires and after which the landlord could bring proceedings will be one month from the date of service during a fixed term tenancy, or for periodic tenancies, the earliest date that the tenancy could be brought to an end by a notice to quit.
Interestingly the reference to the common law principal of notice to quit suggests that in a periodic tenancy, where a landlord can give only two months’ notice at any time, a notice given under 7a will need to expire at the end of a period of the tenancy.
Why ground 7A? Because the mandatory grounds for possession go from 1-8 so this ground has been shoe-horned in at no 7A and is not related to ground 7.”