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New Ground for Possession of Property

Author: Andrew Peach

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Commencement No. 7, Saving and Transitional Provisions) Order 2014 (SI 2014/2590) has been made, bringing into force various sections of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (ABCPA 2014). Section 97 of ABCPA 2014 will come into force in England on 20 October 2014.

Section 97 provides that certain anti-social behaviour will be a new mandatory ground (Ground 7A) for recovery of possession of a property let on an assured tenancy (by inserting Ground 7A into Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988). Ground 7A sets out five conditions against which the Court must grant possession if any one of the conditions is met:

Condition 1, 2 or 3 will be met if the tenant, a member of the tenant's household or a person visiting the property has been:

  • convicted of a serious offence and the offence is committed on or after 20 October 2014;
  • found by a court to have breached an injunction obtained under section 1 of ABCPA 2014 (which relates to anti-social conduct); or
  • convicted for breach of a criminal behaviour order obtained under section 22 of ABCPA 2014.

The offence or anti-social conduct must have:

  • been committed in, or in the locality of, the dwelling-house;
  • affected a person with a right to live in the locality of the dwelling-house; or
  • affected the landlord or a person connected with the landlord's housing management functions.

Condition 4 will be met if the tenant's property has been closed under a closure order obtained under Section 80 of the ABCPA 2014 as a result of anti-social behaviour in or near the property and the total period of closure (under the order or under a preceding closure notice) was for a continuous period of more than 48 hours.

Condition 5 will be met if the tenant, a member of the tenant's household or a person visiting the property has been convicted for breach of a notice or order to abate noise in relation to the tenant's property under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  The offence must have been committed on or after 20 October 2014.

Section 97 also sets the time limits within which notices must be served by a landlord seeking to rely on Ground 7A:

Where the landlord relies on condition 1, 3 or 5, the notice must be served on the tenant within 12 months from the date of the conviction, or if there is an appeal against the conviction, 12 months from the date on which the appeal is finally determined or abandoned.

Should the landlord rely on condition 2, the notice must be served on the tenant within 12 months from the date on which the court made the finding, or if there is an appeal against the finding, the period of 12 months from the day the appeal is finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn.

If the landlord relies on condition 4, the notice must be served on the tenant within three months from the day on which the closure order was made, or if there is an appeal, three months from the day on which the appeal is finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn.

A section 8 notice specifying Ground 7A (with or without other grounds) must not specify an expiry date for that notice which is earlier than:

  • a periodic tenancy, the earliest date on which the tenancy could be brought to an end by a notice to quit given by the landlord on the same date as the date of service of the section 8 notice.
  • for a fixed term tenancy, one month after the date of service of the section 8 notice.

If you are a landlord seeking to obtain possession of your property, we can help whether it is providing possession notices or undertaking possession proceedings in the County Court on your behalf. For further details please contact Angus Storar either by email: a.storar@downslaw.co.uk or telephone 01306 502291.

Posted on 06/10/2014 by Pam Bowring

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