ASB Faqs

asb-stampThe following Frequently Asked Questions are designed to answer some of the most common questions about Anti Social Behaviour, and how Swan will deal with a report on ASB

Q: What is ASB?

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is any behaviour that causes, or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to other people living in your neighbourhood. ASB can cover a wide range of behaviour from minor neighbour disputes arising from differences in lifestyles, to serious criminal behaviour.
It is difficult to come up with a complete definition if what ASB is. However, some examples of ASB may include:

  • Abandoned Vehicles (not stolen)
  • Inappropriate use of vehicles/vehicle nuisance
  • Rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour
  • Rowdy/nuisance neighbours
  • Littering/drugs paraphernalia
  • Animal problems such as dogs barking
  • Trespassing on someone’s property
  • Nuisance telephone calls
  • Drinking alcohol on the street
  • Prostitution and related activities
  • Noise nuisance such as music played too loudly
  • Begging/vagrancy

Anyone can be a victim of anti-social behaviour or suffer the effects of it, regardless or whether they are a Swan tenant, home-owner, or renting from a private landlord.

Q: What are my responsibilities as a tenant?

Your tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and Swan. It says that as a tenant you are responsible for your own behaviour and that of anyone living with, or visiting you, including children. You are responsible for this whilst they are in your home, on your estate and on the neighbouring estates and roads.

As a tenant you have a number of responsibilities and these will have been fully explained to you when you signed up for the property.

This information can also be found in the Tenant Handbook.

However, if you have any further questions about your obligations and responsibilities as a tenant, please do not hesitate to contact your Neighbourhood Officer on 0303 303 2500

Q: How can I be a good neighbour?

The best way of dealing with anti-social behaviour is not to let it happen in the first place. This means being considerate to others especially your neighbours and those living close to you, It is important to be aware that other people may have a different lifestyle to you, and it is about working together to accept this and to be tolerant of each others differences.  For example some people work on shifts and so sleep during the day, and others may have large families who will make more noise than someone living alone.

Some tips on being a good neighbour include:

  • Introducing yourself when you move in
  • Telling your neighbours in advance if you are going to have a party
  • Keep your stereo and TV volume down in the evening.

We do recognise that sometimes there are differences that arise and you may need to approach your neighbour to discuss these.

However, if you feel worried or uncomfortable about speaking to your neighbour directly, please contact your Neighbour Officer for advice and assistance.

Q: How do I report and incident of ASB / Nuisance

You can now text 80800 free to report Anti-Social Behaviour out-of-hours.Report the incident to your Neighbourhood Officer by:

  • Phone on 0300 303 2500
  • In person – by visiting your local office
  • On-line – here via web4residents
  • In writing – send it to your local office
  • Out of hours – Phone 0800 075 6699

Q: Can I report ASB without giving my name?

Yes, however we will not be able to update you on what action were are taking. This may also limit the action we can take. Your details will always remain confidential unless you give us permission to disclose them.

Q: What should I do?

The Neighbourhood Officer will advise you depending on your individual case and may ask you to:
Initially speak to the person causing the nuisance (if appropriate)
Keep a record of each incident on the diary sheets we provide. In the case of noise nuisance, you can also download the Noise App to your smartphone which enables you to keep a record electronically of the noise and gather supporting evidence. More details on the Noise App can be found at www.thenoiseapp.com.
Contact the police to report certain incidents such as criminal damage or other illegal activities.
Contact the Environmental Health Department or Local Authority to report certain incidents such as noise nuisance or fly tipping.

Q: Why do I need to keep filling in the diary sheets?

We need evidence of each incident to enable us to build a picture of what has been happening, and for us to see if the action we have already taken has resolved the issues. If the incidents continue and diary sheets are completed, we can then look at what further action can be taken.
We would also use these as evidence if the case went to court.

Q: What will happen?

When you report the incident by phone or in person an Officer will interview you and complete an initial report form about the incident. We will need a full account of the incident which will include:

  • What happened – date, time & place
  • Who was with you or who witnessed the incident
  • Who caused the ASB or Nuisance
  • Whether other agencies were involved, such as the Police, other landlords or environmental health.

It is important that you give as much detail as possible even if you think it is not relevant.

If you reported it on-line or by writing, and officer will contact you to complete the above.

Q: What happens next?

If you have not already spoken to your neighbourhood Officer, they will contact you to complete the above (Reporting an Incident) and explain that they will carry out an investigation into the incident.
The Officer will:

  • Interview any witnesses
  • Interview the person who caused the anti social behaviour or nuisance
  • Door knock neighbours to identify any other potential witnesses if appropriate
  • Contact any other agencies that were involved.

Once the Officer has completed their investigation they will contact you to discuss their findings and possible action

Q: Will you need to tell the other person that I have complained?

We will not tell the person that you have made the complaint, unless you give us permission to do so. Your details will remain strictly confidential.
However, it may be a[[arrant that the complaint came from you. I fyou do not want us to contact the person causing the nuisance and interview them, there is little Swan can do other than record the complaint.

Q: Who can I speak to about anti social behaviour if the Swan Offices are closed?

Swan provides a dedicated ‘out of hours service’ to deal with ASB as it happens. This means that if our offices are closed you can still report ASB and receive support and advice.

The out of hours service number is – 0800 075 6699

Q: What support can I receive?

If you are having difficulty coping or need extra support, we will put you in contact with service providers that can help.

These may include:

  • Victim or witness support
  • Counselling
  • Mediation
  • Legal advice
  • Social Services
  • Health Services

If you feel threatened and don’t feel safe at home we will give you extra advice and support. This may involve giving you some tips on personal safety or making improvements to the security of your home.

Q: What action can Swan take?

There are a number of actions that we can take against someone who is acting in an anti-social manner. The action that we can take will depend of the type and the severity of the ASB. These include:

Warning letters

Warning letters are one of the first tools used to stop people behaving anti-socially. They are sent to the person causing the anti-social behaviour to deter them from continuing to do so and set out what action will be taken if they do not. Warning letter provide an opportunity to stop this at an early stage and before legal action is needed.

Mediation

Mediation is used to try and resolve differences between neighbours. It is a free, independent service and the mediators are trained to work with neighbours to try and find a solution that everyone can live with.

Discuss the case with other agencies and agree further action (if appropriate)

Consider the use of diversionary activities (depending on the type of nuisance)

Injunctions

An injunction is a court order that will forbid someone from doing something for example going within a specified distance of a property or making contact with a named person. Injunctions are usually effective for a 3 or 6 month period.

An example of the use of an injunction would be to protect someone who had been threatened or attacked by a neighbour.

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Parental Control Agreements

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts are voluntary written agreements between an individual and Swan, and sometimes will involve other agencies such as the police. The agreement will state what an individual should or shouldn’t do, and are used to try and persuade people to change their behaviour.

Parental Control agreements are used when the child causing anti-social behaviour is under 10. We know that often parents may not be aware of what activities their children are involved in, or may find it difficult to deal with their behaviour and these agreements will detail what steps the parents should take to stop this from happening in the future.

Possession Proceedings

This is court action that can lead to a tenants being evicted from their home. Before court action is started residents will have received several warnings and been given many opportunities to change their behaviour. To evict someone from their home, we would require substantial evidence of anti-social behaviour and would have to prove this to the Court.

Q: What would happen if the case went to Court?

You might be required to provide a witness statement and to give evidence. Your Neighbourhood Officer will support you throughout the case and help you prepare for any hearings. They will also attend the court hearing and support you on the day.

Q:  Why can you not just evict a person causing the nuisance?

Our aim is to resolve the issue and we may be able to do this by using other methods. Eviction is always a last resort after we have tried other actions available to us.

A judge will review

  • What previous Swan has taken to try to prevent to try to prevent further incidents
  • What evidence is available detailing each incident
  • What witnesses have said and the evidence given by them in Court

Q: What if the person causing the ASB or nuisance is not a Swan tenant?

Swan will still be able to provide you with advice. If the person is the tenant of a Local Authority or another Housing Association, we will work with them to resolve the issue. If the person causing the nuisance privately rents or owns their own home we will still provide advice and support.

Q: What if the person stops causing the ASB or nuisance?

If the incidents stop then Swan wil monitor the situation for a short period. After discussion with you we will then close the case. However, if further incidents happen after the case has been closed, Swan will ‘re-open’ the case and continue to take action against the person causing the nuisance.

Mediation

Swan is committed to the prevention and resolution of anti-social behaviour and offers mediation to our residents as a way of achieving this. Mediation encourages communication between people who are in conflict. It is a process which supports people to talk and to listen to each others points of view.

Q: What is mediation?

Mediation is an alternative to going to court which can be a lengthy and expensive process with the court making the final decision for all those concerned.

Mediation allows all parties the opportunity to talk and be listened to without any interruption and to feel they have achieved something.

You can have a one to one discussion with the mediator if you feel uncomfortable about attending a face to face meeting with other residents.

Mediators are impartial and will not be taking any sides in the dispute, nor will they be judging anybody.

Mediation is free for all residents who wish to use the service.

Q: What are the benefits of mediation?

The benefits of mediation are:

  • You get to hear the other persons feelings and concerns
  • Being listened to and feeling supported
  • You start to feel in control again
  • By talking to a mediator you take the first step to resolving the problem

Mediation is held in a neutral location and controlled environment to allow all parties to feel at ease.

Q: How does mediation work?

  • Two mediators will visit people involved in the dispute separately and will listen to everyone without making a judgement as to who is right and wrong
  • They will then arrange a meeting between everyone
  • This will give everyone opportunity for everyone to give their point of view and listen to how it affects the other person
  • The mediators will work with everyone involved to produce an agreement that everyone is happy with and this is signed by all parties

Q: What types of nuisance can be resolved by mediation?

Mediation can work in many different types of disputes between neighbours including:

  • Noise nuisance
  • Difficult behaviour
  • Fences/Boundaries
  • Nuisance from children or youths
  • Street parking
  • Barking dogs
  • Parties and loud music

Resolving disputes through mediation

It is not always easy to accept that a situation has become serious enough to be called a dispute. Yet disputes and conflicts are a fact of everyday life

Unresolved disputes can take up a considerable amount of time and money, whilst causing stress to those who are involved. Many individuals or organisations are reluctant to take the risk of going to court. Even those that do can find it difficult emotionally and financially.

Mediation is a quick and effective way of resolving disputes and conflicts. It may also reduce the risk of conflicts arising again in the future and can help to sustain important relationships. It is an independent service and therefore offers an outside opinion on your dispute,

If you would like to know more about mediation, and think it may help you, please contact your neighbourhood officer on 0300 303 2500

Supporting witnesses

For us to take firm action against those responsible for causing anti-social behaviour we need to have evidence and those cases where people are prepared to come forward as a witness have the highest chances of success.

We recognise however, that attending court maybe a daunting prospect for many people and Swan is committed to supporting witnesses through this process.

We can arrange visits to the court, prior to the hearing, so that you know what to expect on the day. We will ensure that we arrange a suitable meeting place on the day of the hearing so that you do not come into contact with the other parties involved in the case.

We will arrange for a member of staff to stay with you throughout the court process to provide help and re-assurance. We will also arrange for taxis, provide interpreters where needed, and reimburse reasonable expenses.

We do know that some witnesses of anti-social behaviour don’t want to come forward because of the fear of reprisals. We will not reveal your details at any stage in the process unless you allow us to do so.

I don’t want to live here any more, what are my options?

If you would like to move there are a number of options available to you including:

  • Considering a mutual exchange
  • Applying to Swan’s transfer list
  • Applying to the Council’s waiting list
  • Privately renting
  • Shared Ownership