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SCOTTISH HOUSING MINISTER GETS TOUGH WITH NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL

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Residents who make life hell for their neighbours will no longer be ...
Residents who make life hell for their neighbours will no longer be

tolerated in Scotland's communities, Scottish housing minister Calum

MacDonald has warned.

The minister unveiled tough new guidelines to help councils and residents work in partnership with other agencies to tackle the scourge of nuisance neighbours and allow law-abiding citizens to enjoy a quiet life.

The main points of the guidelines are:

- the importance of managing neighbour disputes at an early stage, before they can escalate

- the need for tenant involvement, including the option of tenant management of estates

- the importance of tenancy agreements which clearly spell out how anti-social behaviour will be dealt with

- the problem of noise nuisance, which accounts for the majority of

complaints, and how to tackle it

- the importance of dealing with complaints effectively

- the introduction of new legislative powers to combat anti-social behaviour

Launching the circular Housing and Neighbour Problems: Dealing with Nuisance and Anti-social Behaviour, Mr MacDonald said:

'Decent people must be allowed to live in peace in their homes but all too often their lives are being made a misery by the appalling behaviour of a small minority of anti-social residents. Families are being subjected to abusive language, threatening behaviour, excessive noise and vandalism.

'The government is determined to crack down on the scourge of bad

neighbours. I want everyone to work together to design policies which can restore peace and quiet to our neighbourhoods.

'The draft guidance I issued earlier this year was extremely well received and prompted a large number of responses, including many examples of successful anti-social behaviour strategies. These models will allow councils and other landlords to benefit from a pool of shared knowledge and experience.

'The guidance is backed up by new powers introduced under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to specifically tackle anti-social behaviour. These include Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, extended powers of eviction, a new offence of racial harassment, and drug treatment and

testing orders.

'Although the circular is aimed primarily at landlords and housing managers, it stresses the need for everyone to work together. Only by

co-ordinating our fight against nuisance neighbours can we effectively

combat the problem and hand our estates back to law-abiding citizens.'

NOTES

1.Draft guidance on nuisance neighbours and anti-social behaviour was

issued in March and respondents were invited to submit comments and models of good practice.

2.The circular builds on the recommendations of the Scottish affairs

committee following its inquiry into the subject of nuisance neighbours. It includes full details of new measures brought in under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to help combat the problem of anti-social behaviour.

3.The Scottish Office has commissioned research into using mediation in disputes and the Scottish Courts Administration is looking into the legal process to identify possible delays.

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