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The Housing Act 1996 Explained

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 1 Mar 2023 | comments*Discuss
Tenant Landlord Housing Association

The Housing Act 1996 (“HA 1996”) contains a number of rules on tenancies - particularly in relation to tenancies where the landlord is a local authority or a housing association. These sorts of landlords are often referred to as social landlords.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Under the HA 1996 social landlords may apply for an injunction against a tenant who engages in “housing-related anti-social conduct”. The injunction is intended to prevent specific behaviour, which must be set out in the injunction.

For the purposes of an HA 1996 injunction behaviour which could or does cause annoyance to other tenants, to the landlord's employees, or to people lawfully in the vicinity of the property may constitute anti-social conduct. The behaviour could take place anywhere and the injunction does not have to name a particular person or people who have actually been affected by the anti-social behaviour. An injunction may be obtained even if no anti-social behaviour has yet taken place but the tenant has threatened to behave in an anti-social way.

Applying for an Anti-Social Conduct Injunction

An application for an anti-social conduct injunction will usually be made in the local county court. The application must include written evidence explaining why an injunction is needed. The application must also set out the specific behaviour which the injunction is intended to prevent.

A copy of the application should usually be hand-delivered to the tenant at least two days before the court hearing of the landlord’s application. The court could give permission for the application to take place without the tenant being given notice. However, this is only likely to happen if violence has been threatened and there is a “risk of significant harm” to a particular person before the application is heard by the court. (Slightly different rules apply where a landlord wishes to obtain an injunction against a tenant in relation to unlawful use of the property or breach of their tenancy agreement.)

An anti-social conduct injunction may include a power of arrest. If so it must specify the particular acts which may lead to arrest.

Breach of an Anti-Social Conduct Injunction

A person arrested for breach of an injunction should be brought before a judge within 24 hours of their arrest. The judge may decide what sentence is appropriate. Alternatively the judge may remand the tenant in custody or grant them bail pending a final decision on sentence.

Demoted Tenancies

If the tenant of a local authority or a housing association engages in anti-social behaviour or uses their home for unlawful purposes their landlord may apply to the local county court for a demotion order. A demotion order turns a secure or assured tenancy into a demoted tenancy, which means that the tenant can be more easily evicted by their landlord.

A landlord must give the tenant notice that it intends to apply for a demotion order. A court may make a demotion order if it is satisfied that the tenant has behaved anti-socially or has used the property for unlawful purposes. A demotion order turns a secure tenancy into a demoted tenancy for one year from the date of the order.

Repossession and Demoted Tenancies

A landlord must still apply for a court repossession order before they can evict a tenant with a demoted tenancy. The landlord must first give the tenant notice that they intend to start a claim for repossession. The notice will usually give the tenant 28 days' warning that a repossession case is to start. This notice must set out the reasons why the landlord wants to repossess the property and inform the tenant that they have the right to seek a review of the decision to repossess. The tenant will have 14 days from the date of the notice to request a review of the decision.

If a social landlord follows the correct procedure when seeking to repossess a property held under a demoted tenancy the court must make a repossession order. Therefore, unlike a secure tenant, a tenant with a demoted tenancy has very little protection from eviction.

Introductory Tenancies

Introductory tenancies are a one-year, probationary tenancy provided by some local authorities and housing associations when they first take on a new tenant. A tenant with an introductory tenancy can be much more easily evicted than a tenant with a long-term, secure tenancy. By implementing a system of introductory tenancies local authorities and other social landlords have greater powers over the type of tenant given access to their limited housing stock.

The tenant of a social landlord who indulges in anti-social behaviour during the period of an introductory tenancy can be much more easily evicted than a tenant with a full tenancy. An introductory tenant may also lose their right to be granted a full tenancy if they engage in anti-social or unlawful behaviour.

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Hello cut the long story straight we live in a flat and my older son has ADHD tonight I had loads of police knocking at my door due to my son getting over excited....he was shouting and being loud when his team scored. They come in checked every room and left and OK we are happy and left. I was soo scared what an earth.
S_beau89 - 1-Mar-23 @ 11:59 PM
Hi my neighbour as cctv in he bedroom window on to my garden what can I do i have phone the police and every thing there not doing nothing about it
Sammy - 26-Aug-22 @ 2:01 PM
How close is too close for a tree to the house ?
Annie - 9-Jun-21 @ 4:04 PM
I would like to know what I can do about a very big oak tree in my garden which is way to close to my house how close is too close ? I can’t get any sun .
Annie - 9-Jun-21 @ 4:02 PM
Can anyone please help ive been trying to live with my neighbor and her intimidation and harassment for 10 year's we have tried everythingtalking housing officer to no avail ive been pulled for everything but she is untouchable she pulls the race card she has now pulled the black lives matter card we have had police involved what she wants is a 4 bedroom house to get out of the 8th floor tower block we live in I'm willing for an exchange just for peace even a like for like but no want's to move to my property because i have to explain why i want to move she has had myself and my X partner arrested X partner because we have split because of everything she has wrote my name on our communil wall saying I'm on benifets she has told our council official i called her and her children the N word I'm at my wits end can anyone help me or tell me what i can do I'm ready to give up my 18year council tenancy to go to private housing ive got 3 children my son is 18 my other son is 10 and my daughter is 6 we live in a 2 bedroom property in LBBD please can anyone help me or give me advice just so you know ive tried citizen advice my local MP the police i have tried everything please HELP........Miss S Powell
Shelley - 27-May-21 @ 1:14 AM
We were moved by the police due to anti-social behaviour.The home we have now is a local authority home run by a social landlord/provider it is a lovely home.All was well at first we did our usual checks on the neighbours making sure that they don't have loud party's music or a large number of kids or teens.No offence to anyone with kids but we know what we can and can't live with.My husband is 71 years of age we don't party or annoy anyone but our neighbour next door has a dog he leaves alone sometimes for days whilst he works away, he has a friend who comes to feed the dog and let it out for a walk in the yard.The yard is full of dog foul and rubish he does not clean it up and so he has a nest of rats under his shed both he and the other tenants use a pellet gun to shoot at the rats.The neighbour on the other side is I think she is alcohol dependent or dependant on something as she screams and shouts at us and uses foul language as she gets up at 4.30 to 5 am to go to her boyfriend over the road where she stays all day!Comes home at 10 pm we don't hear her not at all, not until the 4.30 5 am where she bangs around unnecessarily it is loud bangs it wakes my husband up every morning at 4.30 - 5 am and it comes predominately from her back bedroom, not her kitchen, we don't know what she is doing but it's loud! My husband knocks back and she screams loudly back and bangs back.She knocks on our front door then walks away down by her gate then screams and shouts using bad language at us.We have reported her to this authority but they say they will do nothing at all as it does not constitute a noise complaint but they warned my husband to stop banging to her to shut up!Where is the justice in this damn country when you can't tell a noisy neighbour at 4 - 5 am to shut up!!Especially where a 71-year-old is concerned.Any advice or is this just somewhere you tell your story and that is that?
pinkprincesscat21 - 28-Jan-20 @ 12:37 PM
Hi we needed to clean the soffits and guttering on our bungalow however this means we need access to their land they have put a gate up which stops us and they have said we cannot have access plus the gate post is under our soffit . Would like clarity on this
Adi - 31-Dec-19 @ 5:15 PM
I rent a house and a few years ago new neighbours moved in first thing they did was want to rip out our hedge to put a fence in we ageeed they could put the fence behind our hedge now they have decided to rip out a perfectly stable wall at the front without even asking for permission from our landlady or us they are using a digger to rip out the wall which is also ripping up our grass it’s our boundary wall where do we stand legally.
Paula - 6-May-19 @ 7:23 PM
I, am having trouble with my neighbour who moved in, in July 1918, You can not reason with her over anything, she thinks everything has got to be her way or nothing. The final straw is on Saturday 6th we tried to have a civilised chat with her, but she just starts swearing and ordering you about, and says that now shes working she will make noise as and when she wants to.She is sub letting the property to her 30 year old daughter, so we have that has well. She uses her tumble drier and washing machine at unsociable hours, ie 4 AM in the morning, along with the washing machine.There is more, but I just thought, I would tell you this first. Do You know any one, who can inform us of the time restricts for using utillity items?
joy - 13-Apr-19 @ 2:08 PM
Hiya I need some advice I live in a flat and mymlandlord housing association I have been attacked by my neighbours x3 now everytime infront of my childrenand everytime the attacked been worse they have threatened to come after me and my family again next time either me or my children will be in hospital.ive called police no arrests have been made I've been to the council they said they cant help and I've been to my housing people many of times there response was in your not safe hand over your keys and get out I've been fighting this for over 4 months now and I'm not getting anywhere I want to be moved I do t even care if I have to move out the area but everyone refusing to help me my mental health going down hill we are all scared (me and my children) what can I do I've been looking a the housing acts etc but I'm stuck I dont no what to do anymore any advise would help how can I fight them on this.
Bbt - 13-Mar-19 @ 4:05 PM
There is a Right of Way between properties that has been there for a long time. It is NOT on the maps, but is on the Deeds. It was used for the villagers to obtain water from the village well that is situated in my neighbour's yard. I was informed that I could get this removed for a few hundred pounds but I am happy with it there as no one uses it now BUT my neighbor has just blocked all access through the fence where there should be a gap. Is he legally allowed to do this if I object? Or at all?? My cats use it to follow and catch the rats that originated in his garden and between then fence-line. I told him he is not allowed to block the Right of Way even though it hasn't been used since the 1980's. What can I do about it to get him to unblock the fence?
Eliza - 30-Jul-18 @ 8:27 PM
We have a major problem with a elderly lady in the flat above us the floorboards are very loud creekiing etc major loud ! Now this has been report to 13.who are the landlords of the flats they been out to the neighbour to try to correct this issue with no luck the lady above is totally unproncgable both myself and my wife have try to reason with her she utterly hostile she's up till 2/3 o clock in morning wondering about we can hear every move she makes endless sleepless. Nights added to the fact we both work shifts we have took it up with local council the landlords etc and got nowhere.
Surelynot - 2-Jun-17 @ 3:43 PM
we moved in to a new estate 14yrs ago and for 6 of those years my elderly mother an myself has been miserable, fed up and unhappy, so much so I now don't want to go home from work, inmaged that.I have the neighbour from he'll. she lives on top of me and has no carpet,wood and tiles, even to talk about it make me feel I'll. the neighbour in question do not work. but for 7 nights a week she washes from 8 in the evening until 8 the next day, all youcan here Is the bloody whizzing of the drawer and washing machine,the draging of furniture, hovering the tiles and floorboards and for the icing on the cake a little 3yr old up at 6/7 first thing and running from room to room and getting up on the chair and jumping down,oh boy my elderly mother is at home with this 24 7, and I dont know how much longer get nerves can take it.my mother shouts to let her know it into rightwe get it worse and she calls the police,on my elderly mother saying she is being harassed by 79yr mother who I feel have all right to shout stop it.the police come to tell my elderly mother off. she call me at work very upset to let me know the police is at our door, now you tell me. we report the harrasment to housing,they ignore us and said log,we have been logging for 6yrs for heaven sake. we are at our wit end and fed up with it all. oh and the latest thing wit the neighbour is a set of silver balls on her balcony, and for the pass 3days when the wind was high they where rolling from one of the balcony to the other end making a racket would she remove them no. she was told once by housing to remove them they were removed for 1day. oh do we have problems,my elderly mother and myself has cancelled Xmas another another yet, we are miserable and looking forward for to tramping,the child running back and forth all day. the flats are so flimsy you here them going to loo and what they are doing in the loo. help anyone.oh then they put their shoes on heels and tramp from end of the room to the other side.
troubleneighbour - 21-Nov-15 @ 11:03 PM
@angim - In response to your question:
"a children's home was opened a few years ago in the middle a densely populated housing estate, we were never informed that it was going to open - in fact we could not find out the nature of the business prior to the opening.The home is run for profit by an infamous family - the children have been put into care as a result of antisocial behaviour and criminalbehaviour - they walk the streets and have attracted huge gangs - there have been many many antisocial behaviour problems since the opening - most residents want to move because of intimidation - we've contacted many agencies for help but all side with the home - do we have any legal rights."

@angim. You don't have any rights as far as the placing of the home etc. It will have been granted planning permission and will subject to the usual local authority inspections. There is however, action that you can take in relation to the behaviour of the residents and those responsible for them. Our guide to the AntiSocial Behaviour Act will hopefully be of help to you.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Aug-15 @ 2:04 PM
a children's home was opened a few years ago in the middle a densely populated housing estate, we were never informed that it was going to open - in fact we could not find out the nature of the business prior to the opening.The home is run for profit by an infamous family - the children have been put into care as a result of antisocial behaviour and criminalbehaviour - they walk the streets and have attracted huge gangs - there have been many many antisocial behaviour problems since the opening - most residents want to move because of intimidation - we've contacted many agencies for help but all side with the home - do we have any legal rights.
angim - 4-Aug-15 @ 1:43 PM
@Dor - are you renting or buying your home?
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Feb-15 @ 10:30 AM
cn you please tell me if l can use the freedom of rights act to find out damages and repairs they have done to the house before l moved in.thankyou.
Dor - 17-Feb-15 @ 9:52 PM
I`m a housing association tenant - recently I and other tenants have become aware that we are responsiable for trees (we didn`t plant them) in our gardens, my nieghbour has been recharged (£300) for tree work enforced by our landlords - payable weekly or if you`re on benefit- our landlords tell us the tax payer picks up the bill. are tax payers investing in housing association property management.
gem - 25-Feb-14 @ 4:13 PM
Havering council have started scheme to lease private houses, then rent to council tenants. 4 yrs ago next door house was rented, no-one seemed to live there but groups of people turned up at night, usual rowdiness etc. I went round there twice, once at 3am,then 5am. A women + child arrived, she slept all day and stayed up all night. she has a permanent partner and seems to live part-time in the house, has never done any washing, cleaning windows etc in 4 yrs. Different women are there, builders last week had rudeness from 2 women and neighbours have paid for gutter cleaning, new bolts on Right of way yet. council have done nothing but send useless letters and Local govt Ombudsman is hopeless too. Surely tenancy agreement needs to be enforced, end of. Govt makes a lot of noise about benefit fraud, but nothing seems to get done.
goodie - 26-Jan-14 @ 11:57 AM
The long and short of this is that because their where inclinations by the harasser and friends that my contents was going to be targeted, I wasn't going to allow further items which I had worked for (back in 2009) was not going to be taken at the expensive of share thoughtlessness and neglegience by this association who had demonstrated their complete and utter disregards on the name of profit Since vacating the property they had been hell bent on spreadingunfounded lies ( which a few associations disclosed ) All the legal bodies that was set in Place to protect tenants against injustice and corrupted associations was no where to be seen. Even the local councillor had fallen by the waist side aftererely given the impression that Ot was going to get at the bottom of Suffice to say it isimpprtant not to glorify the situation and give tenants the impression that the law will protect them if associations abuse their positionand refuse to live up to what their contracts states. The police and other authorities ban together to protect these business . You well being and most important , Your TRUTH doesn't play a part in it. It's about money
Scandalous - 17-Jul-12 @ 12:13 PM
And Bolton at homes constant badgering me to move; Bolton at home told prospective housing associations that I need support with housing ; in attempts to escape the fact they had treated worse than a dog When I moved to another property,                 I thought that finally this will mean the end of a 9 year hell. Little did I know , that it was the begining of a next chapter to life of torment . In 2010, I moved into Oakes street . It seemed to be a nice neighbourhood and the properties where far better quality than Bolton at homes shed like dumps. Little did  i know this was the place where ethnic minorities fear to tread; Well , in actuality , they would fear US, but you know what I'm saying! From the get go The letting staffs at St Vincents based in Old Trafford Manchester ;was very unwelcoming and wasn't enthuisic about placing me there. A week followed by constant calls to them- most never returned or simply ingored  or I was told they where busy.  Eventually I got a call - later i found out they where hoping to place someone else, but was turned down by two people A few days into my move, I stumbled on what was to be my neighbour from hell. The moment I heard her annoying voice screaming about what she bought at the sales to another neighbour, I sensed she was going to present problems, but I remained civil  . As soon as I moved in she  seemed to know a great deal about me. She knew I was going to live there alone? My friend helped me move in on numerous occasions . How is it she automatically knew I was to live there alone? Suffice to say; this was to be the start of the next 8 months of hell. Within days ,her and her husband began their stalking like behaviour . At one point, she would appear at my bedroom window ( Which was situated on the ground floor) at 10pm , trying to focus as to what I was up to? . When I opened my front door to ask if I could help ; my partner and I spotted her spying on us in previous days .She became defensive From that point on, I kept my curtains closed. This of course bothered her, so the following few months she decided to making excessive noise- 3 times a day Everyday. I then began to play some music to relax me when the excessive walking, thumping, ground kids running up and down , consumed me. A day later, I recieved a letter from St Vincents about the music. Up until that time I had tolerated this crazy womans nonsense, but took this as an opportunity to alert St Vincents to this. I was immediately ingored by the housing officer (intakes S W). Months was spent enduring the intense ASB as my complaints feel on death ears. St Vincents put all stops out to have sound equipment fitted to capture the excessive noise. I was insulted and made to feel like it was all jn my head ,when I attend meetings with them to complain. Meanwhile the harassment continued and extended to another neighbour -who was an open weed smoker and whom St Vincents placed into another of their properties after he ha
Scandalous - 17-Jul-12 @ 12:08 PM
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