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A new way to get rid of neighbours from hell is now available for local councils. ...
A new way to get rid of neighbours from hell is now available for local councils.

Speaking at the signing of the first introductory tenancy at the St Johns Wood housing estate in Westminster, housing minister David Curry highlighted the new package of measures made available by legislation coming into force today which will combat anti-social tenants.

Everyone has the right to live in peace and quiet, and these strong measures will mean that troublemakers will be evicted quickly, allowing ordinary tenants to live in peace.

Anti-social behaviour by an unthinking, arrogant minority can cause untold misery, and make life hell for others.

The Housing Act 1996 contains many provisions to protect the ordinary resident from noisy or nuisance neighbours and this legislation will strengthen the hand of people who are no longer prepared to put up with it.

Introductory tenancies, the first of which is being signed today, will ensure that:

-- Where a local authority opts for an introductory tenancy scheme all new tenancies will be probationary for twelve months, after which it becomes secure unless the local authority has gained repossession of the dwelling.

The eviction process for an introductory tenancy will be different to that of a secure tenancy in that no ground for possession would have to be made to the court. A tenant facing eviction will have the right to have that decision reviewed by the local authority.

The new legislation also helps with existing secure tenants. It:

-- strengthens grounds for possession based on nuisance and annoyance to cover behaviour within the locality of the tenants property and also the behaviour visitors to the property;

-- makes it possible for a landlord to use professional witnesses in court instead of calling the victim of anti-social behaviour to give evidence;

-- makes it possible for a landlord to evict nuisance tenants, lodgers or visitors who have been convicted of an arrestable offence in the locality of the dwelling;

-- speeds up the repossession process by allowing proceedings against a tenant to begin as soon as a notice for possession has been issued, rather than waiting 28 days (in case of LAs) or two weeks (for other social and private sector landlords);

-- allows the landlord to dispense with the issuing of the notice of possession where the court thinks it just and equitable;

-- provides a new ground for eviction where a partner has fled the home because of violence or threatened violence.

Chapters 1 and 11 of Part V of the Housing Act 1996 - Conduct of Tenants, (Introductory Tenancies and Repossession for Secure tenancies) come into force on 12/2/97.

The London Borough of Wandsworth and Manchester City Council are both starting schemes from today.

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