Wealden District Council

Housing - Anti Social Behaviour

The Council's Anti Social Behaviour Policy

The law requires Wealden District Council as a social housing landlord to publish its statements of policy and a procedure together with a summary for how we respond to anti social behaviour.

This provides information to tenants, residents and any other interested party on the main points of our policy and procedure.

What is anti social behaviour?

Anti social behaviour means different things to different people. There is a legal definition contained in the Anti social Behaviour Act 2003 that can be summarised as:

  • Conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person and affects the housing management functions of the Council
  • Conduct that consists of or involves using or threatening to use the Council's housing accommodation for an unlawful purpose.

In a broad context, acts of anti social behaviour include:

  • Alcohol and solvent misuse
  • Begging and street nuisance
  • Boundary disputes
  • Criminal behaviour
  • Damage to property
  • Domestic Abuse
    • Emotional Abuse
    • Financial Abuse
    • Physical Abuse
  • Harassment
  • Intimidation
  • Misuse of gardens
  • Noise - Make a complaint about noise
  • Nuisance from business use
  • Nuisance from vehicles
  • Pets and animals
  • Racial and homophobic harassment
  • Rubbish and misuse of communal areas
  • Supply, use and misuse of drugs
  • Verbal abuse

The Council's expectations and approach

We expect our tenants, and their visitors and guests, to show consideration to their neighbours and not to cause nuisance. We also expect our tenants to be reasonably tolerant and understanding towards the lifestyles and needs of others. Unfortunately, there will be times when behaviour is not acceptable or toleration is not being shown.

The Council has produced in partnership with residents a new policy for dealing with anti social behaviour where our tenants are affected:

Role Of Housing Estate Wardens

The Estate Wardens are employed by the Housing Service and work throughout the district. They are there to maintain community safety for residents on Council housing estates through visible patrols.

The Wardens are involved with anti social behaviour, abandoned cars and other housing related problems such as vandalism, fly tipping and graffiti. They help to raise residents' awareness of crime and security. They work closely with Housing Officers and other council officers as well as other partners including the Police to help improve the environment and security of Wealden's Housing Estates.

Making a Complaint about Anti Social Behaviour

If you are affected by anti social behaviour or you have witnessed someone else being affected by it, you can make an initial complaint to us regardless of whether you are a Wealden tenant using our online Anti-Social Behaviour form. If you are a Council tenant you can contact us using the contact information at the bottom of this page. You can also make a complaint about noise online.

Before making a complaint, you should consider whether you can resolve the issue yourself. For instance, a neighbour may not be aware that their behaviour is causing a nuisance. Complaints about residents behaviour, or the behaviour of tenants family and visitors, should be made to the Housing Services Team.

What happens next?

Your complaint will be dealt with by your housing officer. Please bear in mind that most days your housing officer will be out on visits so if you telephone or visit the office without having made an appointment, you may be seen or spoken to by another member of staff who will take brief details of the complaint and your contact details for the housing officer.

However you choose to contact us, your housing officer will contact you as soon as he or she can. You will be asked questions to help us understand the problem: who is affected, how they are affected, where it happens, when it happens and why you think the person is behaving as they do.

Depending on the outcome of this interview, you will be given guidance on what action your housing officer intends taking and what you will be expected to do. Tackling anti social behaviour can only be successfully carried out in partnership with you.

Your housing officer may suggest you talk through the problem with your neighbour. There is always a better chance of solving a dispute if you try to see each others point of view. If you are uneasy about approaching your neighbour, we can try to mediate or can put you through to Mediation+ (Helping Communities with Modern Living (external link) they are specialist advisers who can help you find a solution you are both happy with.

If your housing officer believes there is no action the Housing Management Service can take, you will be given appropriate advice as there may be other agencies that can help.

After we have spoken to you

We can't take action against someone simply because a complaint has been made. We will need to investigate and gather evidence.

The most important evidence is the Nuisance Incident Diary Housing Nuisance Diary (pdf). You can either download this form or contact your housing officer to post the diary to you. If you need help on how to fill the diary in then your housing officer will explain how to do so. It is important to fill the diary sheet in as events happen; record date, time, what happened and how this affected you.

We will need to speak to other people affected and we will also need to discuss the case with other sections in the Council, the police and other agencies, depending on the nature of the complaint. Other evidence may be needed, but we will almost certainly need to interview the person complained about. You can ask us not to do this, but it may be difficult to take further action. They will not be told who has complained. We will tell them what has been complained about and what they need to do to prevent any further action being taken.

If further action is needed

If the nuisance does not stop the Housing Officer may consider serving a Notice of Seeking Possession on the tenant. A Notice is served where there is a breach in the conditions of tenancy, and it is the first step towards the legal action needed to evict someone from their home. A Notice stays in force for a year after it has been served.

In very serious cases we will enforce the Notice through the Courts, and this requires continual evidence collecting so we can present a case to a Judge. The Housing Officer will continue to try and resolve nuisance issues throughout this process, and we will give support and advise the victim(s) of nuisance. The Housing Officer will also give the alleged perpetrator of the nuisance an opportunity to change their ways.

More information required

Wealden has an anti social behaviour policy and procedure; contact the Housing Management Team if you would like a copy and we will send them to you. If you are not a tenant of Wealden District Council, there may be a charge.

If you are not happy

All our tenants are entitled to excellent customer service from all our staff. If you feel the service you received is not to the standard you expect, then you can Make a Complaint to us.