This information is intended to present best practice, which all landlords and managing agents are encouraged to follow and may in some cases exceed legal requirements.
Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is defined under the Housing Act 2004 as conduct by people occupying or visiting residential property that causes or is likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to people in the vicinity, or which involves or is likely to involve use of the property for illegal purposes.
Examples of anti-social behaviour from a tenant include:
- Violence or threats of violence towards another person
- Hate crime and hate incidents
- Verbal abuse and offensive behaviour
- Environmental damage, such as littering, inappropriate disposal of waste and untidy bin storage
- Waste bins and boxes being left on the streets following collection
- Unreasonable and persistent noise
- Graffiti, vandalism, and criminal damage
- Drug or alcohol use leading to a person or group of people causing alarm, harassment, and distress to others
- Activities related to prostitution
- Inconsiderate or inappropriate use of vehicles
What is not anti-social behaviour:
- The sound of children playing or a baby crying
- Everyday living noises, such as flushing toilets and closing doors
Landlords must take reasonable steps to prevent, identify and manage anti-social behaviour caused by tenants in their properties. Anti-social behaviour can have a detrimental impact on the community and neighbouring residents. Whilst tenants are responsible for their own actions, Landlords should take reasonable steps to prevent, identify and manage this behaviour.
Landlords of HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) must also comply with The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. Duties include the duty to maintain common parts including ensuring that gardens are kept in a safe and tidy condition and a duty to provide waste disposal facilities. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a civil penalty or prosecution.
Tenants of HMOs also have duties under these regulations.
If a complaint about tenant behaviour is made to the council, the landlord should work with our officers and assist in resolving the matter.
There are additional responsibilities for landlords of licensed properties to ensure that they are complying with property licence standards and conditions.
These standards and conditions require landlords to take specific actions in relation to anti-social behaviour and provision of waste storage. Enforcement action can be taken against licence holders not compliant with the licensing conditions, in accordance with our pdf private housing enforcement policy (137 KB) . Enforcement action can include the licence being revoked and prosecution or civil penalty.
It is easier to prevent issues of anti-social behaviour occurring, rather than managing any issues that arise.
These are some practical steps a landlord can take to prevent or reduce anti-social behaviour:
Pre tenancy checks
References should be requested from each new tenant applying to occupy the property. These reference requests can include questions relating to anti-social behaviour.
Supplying contact details
Landlords should provide neighbouring households with contact details of the managing agent and or landlord.
Supplying contact details such as an email address or telephone number enables neighbours to inform the landlord of any problems or complaints about the behaviour of the tenant or visitors.
Landlords may also consider providing out of hours contact details, particularly where there is a history of anti-social behaviour at night.
Pre tenancy meeting and information
Prior to the tenancy the landlord should make clear to the tenant their responsibilities, obligations, and the importance of consideration to neighbours.
Best practice is to meet with the tenant in person.
If the tenant does not speak English well enough to understand this information, you should make sure that someone is present who can act as an interpreter and explain these points well enough for the tenant to understand.
Parking and vehicle storage
The tenant should be provided with details of any parking arrangements. Inform tenants of any relevant:
- Designated parking spaces and/or garages available for use with the property
- Restrictions to parking in the area
- Access to residents parking schemes (RPS)
Refuse and recycling
Suitable facilities should be provided for the storage and disposal of refuse and recycling in accordance with the collection requirements Go to https://bristolwastecompany.co.uk/household/get-it-sorted/ (opens new window) of the area.
Prior to the tenancy commencement:
- Ensure that any waste left from a previous tenancy is removed
- Inform tenants of the bins and recycling collection dates
- Ensure there are a suitable number and size of bins, bags and boxes for the occupation of the property
- Ensure that these containers are kept within the boundary of the property and stored in a neat and tidy manner
- Replace any lost or damaged bins, boxes or bags
- Mark all bins, bags and boxes with the property house number
- Make clear how the waste should be sorted Go to https://bristolwastecompany.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Pin-up-and-keep-recycling-guide-Bristol-Waste.pdf (opens new window)
- Supplying purpose-built storage for waste and recycling between collections may encourage tenants to manage their waste efficiently, keep external areas tidy and prevent pests.
All storage chambers must be constructed to BS 5906 (1980) and conform to Building Regulations 2000, Part H6 Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/drainage-and-waste-disposal-approved-document-h (opens new window)
- Items must not be left out on the street. Any items left outside of your property boundaries will be considered illegal fly-tipping, and prosecution is liable to follow. You must make this clear to your tenants
- A bulky waste collection can be arranged for a fee with Bristol Waste, where larger items such as mattresses, electrical items, fridges and freezers are collected from the kerbside
- Signpost tenants to Bristol Waste Go to https://bristolwastecompany.co.uk/ (opens new window) for further advice
Tenancy Agreement clauses
Include clauses within the Tenancy Agreement that specifically relate to anti-social behaviour. These clauses will ensure the tenant is aware of their responsibilities and further enable you to action if necessary. An example Tenancy Agreement Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/model-agreement-for-a-shorthold-assured-tenancy (opens new window) is available at gov.uk.
For licensable properties, clauses must be included within the Tenancy Agreement that specifically relate to anti-social behaviour.
You may wish to consider making improvements to your property that may help prevent excessive noise, such as carpeting flooring.
Some examples of improvements to reduce sound can be found in the pdf HMO Supplementary Planning Document (1.64 MB) on page 18.
Pre-tenancy checklist for landlords
There is a checklist available for landlords or agents to use prior to the tenancy commencement: document Pre-tenancy checklist for landlords (42 KB) .
These are some practical steps a landlord can take to ensure they identify any anti-social behaviour that may be occurring:
Regular property inspections
Visits to the property should be arranged on a reasonable but regular basis, to assess if there is evidence of anti-social behaviour.
Some evidence might include:
- External appearance of the property is not in a reasonable condition. For example, waste being managed poorly or graffiti or fly-posters on walls. Taking into account the age of the property, character and locality
- Obvious use of drug taking within the property
- Many visitors at the property during the visit
Complaints and reports to the council
Neighbours are the most likely victims of anti-social behaviour from tenants and may contact the landlord when problems arise.
The council may receive reports of anti-social behaviour directly from neighbours or other complainants.
The council has a range of tools to tackle anti-social behaviour and any complainants will be advised accordingly.
Landlords should do all that is reasonably possible to resolve the issue. If necessary, our officers will work with the landlord to resolve the issue.
Enforcement action can be taken against licence holders not compliant with the licensing conditions, in accordance with our pdf Private Housing Enforcement Policy (137 KB) .
Complaints and reports to the police
Anti-Social Behaviour that involves crime, violence or threatened violence should be reported first to the police.
Anti-social behaviour that should be reported to the police includes:
- Aggressive language or threatening behaviour
- Physical attacks
- Drug taking or dealing
- Property used for purposes of prostitution
- Call 999 if a crime is happening now or if someone is in immediate danger
- Call 101 if it's not an emergency
- Fill in an online crime form Go to https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/report/crime-or-incident/#/ (opens new window)through Avon and Somerset police
- Visit your local Avon and Somerset police station Go to https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact/police-stations/ (opens new window)
The police may wish to work alongside the landlord to help with resolving matters of anti-social behaviour.
If you let to student tenants, find out how you can work with the Universities' community liaison teams to prevent and respond to anti-social behaviour in your property. You can also find out what the Universities expect from students who live in residential areas.
Universities investigate complaints made about their students and can instigate a range of disciplinary actions where there is evidence their students have behaved in an unacceptable manner.
When anti-social behaviour has been established or a complaint is made the landlord should:
- First, it is sensible to find out as much as you can before approaching the tenant, such as talking to those affected by the alleged behaviour
- Report any crime, violence, or threatened violence to the police
- When appropriate, keep neighbours and complainants informed of how the issue is being managed
- If the tenants are students, contact their university
- Be mindful that the tenants may not be aware that they are creating a nuisance
- Speak to the tenant to inform them of the issue and ensure they are aware that their behaviour is causing a nuisance or annoyance. Approach communication with tenants and complainants in a calm and reasonable way
- Listen to the tenant if they have any concerns themselves and act if necessary. It might be that the tenant requires property improvements or further information for the issue to be resolved
- Increase the frequency of visits to the property when anti-social behaviour has already been established
- Take an approach that reflects the nature of the problem and the evidence available
The reasonable actions a landlord should take depend on many factors, including the nature and severity of the behaviour and the relationship between tenant and landlord.
Recording and obtaining evidence
Neighbours and those affected by the behaviour may have already been told by the police or council to keep a record of the tenant's behaviour. If not, they should be asked to start recording this information. They may wish to keep an incident diary, recording the dates, times, nature, and duration of the anti-social behaviour.
Keep a record of all your correspondence, visits and any other actions taken.
This evidence will support any action the landlord, council, or police may have to take.
The landlord may wish to initially do any of the following:
- Refer tenants to the Tenancy Agreement, pointing out any clauses relating to anti-social behaviour
- Explain the consequences if the behaviour continues
If you are concerned about talking to your tenant or would like some support in resolving the issue, you can contact Resolve West Go to https://resolvewest.org/ (opens new window).
They are an independent charity, separate from local authority or the police, and have trained specialists who can help people to resolve issues related to anti-social behaviour through:
Their services are confidential and impartial.
If verbal warnings were not appropriate or effective and there is evidence of the problem continuing, a more formal approach may be necessary.
Writing a letter to a tenant can be an effect way of putting an end to problems at an early stage.
A written warning letter could include the following:
- What behaviour is of concern
- What tenancy agreement conditions they are in breach of
- What action the tenant should take to prevent further action
- The potential consequences of continuing the behaviour such as eviction
A landlord may wish to send more than one letter over a period, depending on the severity of the matter.
A final written warning letter should be sent before any consequences are carried out. This may include:
- List of previous letters sent, including dates
- Lists of all recorded incidents of the anti-social behaviour
- The consequence of continuing the behaviour
- The date further action will be taken
Keep copies of all letters sent, including the date and method of posting.
Landlord Template Letters
We have three example letters available to use as guide: document Template letters for Landlords: anti-social behaviour (15 KB)
Additional help for tenants
Anti-social behaviour sometimes occurs when the tenant needs additional support. It may help to put the tenant in contact with someone who could provide support and help.
You may wish to signpost to Citizens Advice Go to https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ (opens new window) which is a confidential and independent advice service dealing with a wide range of issues. Can signpost to organisations or advice agencies when appropriate.
Any concerns about an individual's mental health, or the safety of the young or elderly should be reported to the Social Care and Health services.
Ending the tenancy
Ending the tenancy should only be considered when all reasonable steps have been taken to try and resolve the issue and it still is unresolved.
Tenants with an Assured shorthold tenancy will need to be served a valid notice seeking possession of the property. If the tenants do not vacate the property following expiry of the notice, an application to the court is necessary to seek a possession order
You may wish to seek advice from a reputable managing agent, landlord association or legal professional whilst dealing with issues of anti-social behaviour from your tenants.
You may want to check your insurance provider, as some insurance companies cover legal fees.
The government website provides advice on finding legal advice.