Eviction for antisocial or criminal behaviour

Landlords may try to evict tenants for criminal or antisocial behaviour. Find out what can happen if you're being evicted for antisocial behaviour.

Get advice about eviction for antisocial behaviour

If you have been threatened with eviction because of antisocial behaviour, get advice immediately. If you do nothing and the behaviour continues, you could end up homeless and may not be entitled to any help from the council.

Use Shelter's directory to find an adviser in your area.

Alternatively, contact Civil Legal Advice. You may be able to get help from their legal advisers if you qualify for Legal Help funding. Be prepared to answer questions about your income and savings so the helpline adviser can tell you if you qualify.

Eviction of council and housing association tenants

A council or housing association landlord can ask a court to evict you if you, someone in your household or someone visiting you, has been involved in antisocial behaviour. This behaviour includes:

  • causing a nuisance to your neighbours
  • harassing your landlord, their staff or contractors
  • using your home for illegal purposes, such as drug dealing
  • being convicted of a serious offence
  • committing an offence during a riot
  • breaching a criminal behaviour order

Tenants will generally be held responsible for the conduct of  people who live with them, including their children, and in some circumstances the people who visit them.

Normally to risk being evicted the antisocial behaviour must take place in the locality of where you live. There are exceptions, for example, if you commit an offence during a riot anywhere in the UK.

The council or housing association has to follow certain rules if they want to evict you and should only use eviction as a last resort.

Normally, the court will look at whether it is reasonable to evict you even if you have been involved in antisocial behaviour. The court could then decide to suspend or postpone an order to possess your home on condition, for example, that you do not re-offend. Where the antisocial behaviour has already been proved in another court, for example you have breached a criminal behaviour order, the court may have no choice but to evict you.

Find out more about the eviction of council tenants and housing association tenants.

Alternatives to evicting council and housing association tenants

Rather than trying to evict you, council and housing association landlords may take other steps first, such as applying for a criminal behaviour order (this replaced an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO)) or asking the court to demote your council tenancy or housing association tenancy. Your tenancy could be demoted for a year or longer.

While your tenancy is demoted, your landlord could evict you very easily if the antisocial behaviour continues.

The council or housing association are likely to monitor the situation closely and will decide if they need to take any further action. This may depend on: 

  • how serious the antisocial behaviour has been
  • if they have already tried to take action in other ways, and 
  • if the behaviour has improved

Eviction of other types of council or housing association tenancies

If you or your someone in your household behaves antisocially, you could also easily be evicted from:

Get advice immediately if you receive any papers saying that your landlord is going to apply for a court order to evict you. If you want to stop the eviction, you will need help from an adviser to challenge the decision.

Use Shelter's directory to find an adviser in your area 

If you are evicted because of antisocial behaviour, you may find it difficult to be re-housed as homeless as the council may consider you to be intentionally homeless. You may also be excluded from council waiting lists because of unacceptable behaviour.

Tenants of private landlords

Most private tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy. This is a type of tenancy that makes it easy for a landlord to evict you, providing you are given the correct notice.

Other private tenants may also be evicted fairly easily. The rules on how and when you can be evicted depend on the type of tenancy you have, and what your tenancy agreement says. For example, if you are an excluded occupier, in other words you share your home with your landlord, you may only be entitled to 'reasonable notice'. The exact notice you're allowed is not defined by law.

Most private tenants can be evicted for the same reasons as council and housing association tenants.

Use our tenancy checker to find out what kind of tenancy you have and what procedures the landlord has to follow. It is always a good idea to get in touch with an adviser to find out if there is anything you can do to keep your home.

What action can neighbours take?

If a landlord decides not to evict an antisocial tenant, it may be possible for neighbours who are affected by the behaviour to take action by complaining to the landlord, complaining to an ombudsman or taking legal action such as applying for an injunction.

Making a formal complaint

Council or housing association landlords will have a formal complaints procedure that you can use. In many cases you have to follow this before you can take any further action. You could also consider complaining to a private landlord.

Complaining to the ombudsman

The Housing Ombudsman Service deals with complaints about councils and housing associations.

The ombudsman can only look into your complaint if you have already tried to use the council/ housing association’s formal complaints procedure but are not satisfied with the outcome. The ombudsman has made a number of recommendations that councils should pay compensation to victims and/or review their policies.

Applying for an injunction

An injunction is a court order made against one or more people. Usually an injunction orders someone not to do something, for example not to make noise or not to shout abuse at neighbours.

Sometimes an injunction orders someone to do something, for example to clear rubbish from the front garden. Injunctions sometimes have a power of arrest attached. This means that the police can arrest the person who breaks the injunction.

Typical examples where the court can make an injunction to stop antisocial behaviour are situations where:

  • a landlord wants a tenant to comply with what the tenancy says (eg not annoying neighbours)
  • neighbours want to stop harassment 
  • a council or a housing association want to stop antisocial behaviour where there is a risk of violence

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