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Anti-Social Neighbours

Volume 301: debated on Thursday 27 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the number of complaints involving anti-social neighbours in each of the last two years; and what advice and assistance his Department gives to social housing landlords. [17640]

In 1996, 46 written complaints were received by the Welsh Office about anti- social behaviour by neighbours. To date, in 1997, 50 have been received. We have no information on the number of complaints received by social landlords.We are determined to take and support measures which protect the majority of citizens who respect the law and the rights of others. The proposed Crime and Disorder Bill will contain a number of measures to reduce petty crime and neighbourhood disorder. These include such measures as community safety orders to restrain the behaviour of individuals; and a new responsibility on local authorities to develop statutory partnerships to help prevent crime and enhance community safety.There are a number of legal measures, including eviction, which landlords can use against tenants guilty of anti-social behaviour. The Welsh Office has issued good practice guidance (entitled 'Getting the Best Out of the Court System in Possession Cases') to all local authorities in Wales to help them make more effective and speedier use of these measures. In addition, the Housing Act 1996 contains provisions to improve the legal processes and strengthen the powers available to landlords to deal with anti-social behaviour by tenants and their visitors.Guidance on these provisions was issued to local authorities earlier this year in Welsh Office circulars 2/97 'Conduct of Tenants—Introductory Tenancies and Repossession for Secure Tenancies' and 38/97 'Conduct of Tenants—Injunctions Against Anti-Social Behaviour'. Guidance on anti-social behaviour for housing association landlords is contained in paragraph 8.4 of 'The Regulatory Requirements' issued by Tai Cymru.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 and the Noise Act 1996, local authorities have responsibility for investigating incidents of noise nuisance in their area. Should a statutory nuisance be detected, local authorities have wide-ranging powers to prevent or abate noise from premises (including land) and vehicles. Guidance on the duties and powers of local authorities in implementing the Noise Act 1996 and the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 is provided in Welsh Office Circulars 41/97 and 42/97.