Neighbour disputes and anti-social behaviour
Non-public interest report issued: complaint not upheld
Mr D, a tenant in a residential block of flats largely owned and managed by Trivallis Housing Association (“the HA”), complained that since taking up his tenancy in 2018, the HA had:
1. Failed to implement and enforce its anti-social behaviour (“ASB”) policy in response to his numerous reports and complaints about the unacceptable behaviour of neighbouring HA tenants (and their visitors).
2. Failed to appreciate and respond to the impact that the ASB directed at him by his neighbours had on his mental health.
3. Failed to facilitate his re-housing application despite agreeing that moving away from the Flats would be in his best interests.
The Ombudsman did not uphold Mr D’s complaints. With regard to complaint1, the Ombudsman found extensive evidence that the HA attempted to apply and enforce its ASB policy in extremely difficult circumstances in a (measured) way that was consistently supportive of tenants (including Mr D) with vulnerabilities. The more substantive enforcement actions taken against problematic tenants were applied in those instances where there was clear and supported evidence of high level ASB (and/or criminal behaviour). These measures (which included eviction notices) were only taken when multiple warnings had been issued for repeat ASB and where supportive attempts to maintain a tenancy and improve conduct had failed.
With regard to complaint 2, the Ombudsman found that, throughout his tenancy, the HA made reasonable efforts to provide Mr D with support, advice, guidance and practical help, and that it was instrumental in facilitating the mental healthcare and support that he received through his GP and via referrals to numerous other mental health support services.
With regard to complaint 3, the Ombudsman found that the HA had clearly explained to Mr D that the local authority had full control of the Common Housing Register and that, as such, it was not within the HA’s gift to advance any housing register application or to award priority banding. The Ombudsman was satisfied that Mr D was provided with information, support and encouragement in regard to his desire to be re-housed and in respect of the procedures involved. However, he could not consider the actions of the local authority in this matter (which were beyond the scope of this investigation).