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Anti-social behaviour is a problem of society not simply a housing issue confined to council tenants, stresses the ...
Anti-social behaviour is a problem of society not simply a housing issue confined to council tenants, stresses the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities in its consultation paper on anti-social behaviour submitted to the Scottish affairs committee.

Cosla points out that remedies for anti-social behaviour should be applied across all tenures, both public and private, otherwise council tenants will become stigmatised and any prejudices about public sector housing will be reinforced.

Housing convener Marjorie Wallace says: 'The problem is not simply a housing issue and with growing poverty, economic marginalisation and increasing crime in society generally, anti-social behaviour is likely to increase as well.

'I feel it is important not to single out council tenants because anti-social behaviour comprises a wide range of problems. In resolving these there is the need to a multi-disciplinary approach, not to mention the need for research and effective monitoring to obtain a realistic view of the scale and the nature of the problem around the country.'

In its submission, Cosla considered, but was not able to endorse some of the views of local authorities on a number of issues including calls for: replacement of the court system with a tribunal system for housing repairs; abolition of the statutory requirement to serve a notice prior to eviction; reduction of statutory rights and statutory protection of secure tenants; and relaxation of rules regarding giving of evidence.

Cosla believes that there is a need for change in the way complaints are dealt with and in the effectiveness of the court system. It says that in bringing about changes to the mechanisms for dealing with such behaviour, a balance must be achieved so that the management system is effective, efficient and adequately resourced but does not diminish the rights of tenants.

It is also important, says Cosla, to have a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of housing authorities and the police and that housing legislation should not be used to deal with criminal activity.

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