Understanding terminology

Glossary of terms

Tenancy breach form

A form signed by the tenant acknowledging that they have breached their tenancy agreement. The form is signed at interview and advice is given as to what the breaches are, what the tenant must do to remedy the breach and what the Council can do should the behaviour continue. The tenant is also advised that should they be evicted for their behaviour then they would be classed as intentionally homeless and the Council would have no duty to re-house.


An undertaking is a signed promise by the tenant that they will comply with certain conditions of behaviour. An undertaking is used for more serious breaches of the tenancy agreement (this means when we have obtained recorded evidence of noise nuisance and we want the tenant to amend their behaviour otherwise legal action will take place).

Closure of premises

A closure order replaces the previously used ‘crack house closures’. The use of this order means that either the Police or the Local authority can apply to Court to close the premises which have been or are likely to result in nuisance or there has been or likely to be disorder in the area. The aim is to bring much quicker relief and protection for victims of anti – social behaviour linked to a specific address.

Civil Injunction

A civil injunction is a court order that forbids a person from specific acts, for example causing anti-social behaviour relating to housing and for nuisance or harassment. In serious cases it can carry the power of arrest and the terms can include excluding a person from a property or area. If breached it is a criminal offence and may result in imprisonment. An injunction carries a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment if breached. Injunctions are quick to obtain. A civil injunction can be applied for to anyone over the age of 10 years. An application for a child will be heard in the youth court. The civil (balance of probabilities) and not criminal (beyond reasonable doubt) rules of evidence apply to injunctions. This means that they require a lesser burden of proof that a criminal prosecution, which may lead to a more certain outcome. They are aimed at stopping the anti-social behaviour rather than punishing the perpetrator.

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New absolute grounds for possession

This is an order whereby the landlord can recover possession of the property under a new mandatory power if the person has either been convicted of a serious offence; they have breached a court order such as a civil inunction or a criminal behaviour order. Should a tenants property be closed by way of a closure order then the absolute ground for possession can be applied. This power can only be used for the most serious cases.

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Community trigger

The community trigger is intended to give victims and communities the right to demand that persistent anti-social behaviour within their area is dealt with. This can be used when the victim feels that the anti-social behaviour has been persistent, there has been an inadequate response or when they perceive themselves ignored by relevant agencies. It is then intended that agencies will come together to take a collective approach to address the issues.

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Extension of introductory tenancy

An introductory tenancy is the initial 12-month period of a secure contract. The introductory tenant is not subject to the same tenancy security as a secure tenant meaning that a breach of tenancy can result in mandatory possession being granted. Also, introductory tenants do not have the right to buy their property. In certain circumstances it maybe necessary to extend the introductory tenancy to inhibit an anti-social tenant from obtaining security of tenure with a secure tenancy and therefore makes it easier to gain possession when and if required.

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Notice of possession proceedings (NPP)

Chapter 1 of Part 5 of the Housing Act 1996 allows local housing authorities to adopt an introductory tenancy scheme for all new tenants. Introductory tenants are essentially on probation and the landlord can evict them fairly easily during the probationary period. They do not have as many rights as secure tenants. If a landlord decides to seek possession there is no requirement for them to demonstrate to the Court any of the grounds for possession. NPP are served and at the possession hearing, the courts only consider whether the appropriate procedure was followed, and do not consider the facts on which the landlord’s decision was based, or the merits of its decision. Where the Court is satisfied that the correct procedure was followed a possession order must be granted. The procedure does, however, include a statutory right to an internal review of the landlord’s decision to seek possession. The review must be conducted fairly and in accordance with the Introductory Tenants (Review) Regulations 1997.

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Notice of intention to seek possession (NSP)

A notice of intention to seek possession is a legal notice served on the tenant by the landlord notifying of the intension to take eviction proceedings. Once the NSP is served, it remains valid for a period of 12 months and the landlord can seek possession at any time within this period.

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Demoted tenancy

Once the County Court orders a demotion, the Council is granted the power to terminate a secure tenancy and substitute it for a demoted tenancy. Where a demotion has been granted and the tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling house goes on to engage or threatens to engage in anti-social behaviour an outright possession of the property can be applied for. If a secure tenancy is terminated and substituted with a demoted tenancy, this removes the tenants right to buy and security of tenure for a period of one year. Should problems continue to persist the Council may serve a notice of intention to proceed for possession of the tenancy.

Possession order and postponed possession order

A court order that may lead to the eviction of a tenant if it is shown that they are guilty of anti-social behaviour. The court will give the landlord possession of the property after a specified period of time, usually 28 days but this can be less. The court may suspend the possession order. This means that the tenant will not be evicted. For example, if they comply with the terms of the tenancy and do not carry out anti-social acts. In cases where the anti-social behaviour continue and the conditions of the postponement are not adhered to the landlord may return to the court to apply for a warrant of eviction.

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Acceptable behaviour contract (ABC)

An acceptable behaviour contract (abbreviated to ABC but sometimes referred to as an acceptable behaviour agreement) is a voluntary agreement between a person who has been involved in anti-social behaviour and their landlord, or other agency involved in preventing anti-social behaviour. ABC’s can be used on adults and individuals under 18 years but not under 10 years. The written agreement sets out the types of behaviour that will not be tolerated and warns the perpetrator of the consequences if their behaviour continues. They are generally used to manage behaviour over a six month period, although they can be used for longer periods.

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Mediation and restorative practice (RP)

Mediation is considered and used in cases of neighbour nuisance and neighbour disputes. It is most likely to succeed if the referral is made promptly and before feelings on both sides become entrenched. It is considered inappropriate in some cases (for example: where there is a history of violence, when mental health issues are a factor, where legal proceedings have commenced, where the perpetrator is involved in hate related anti-social behaviour/crime and where it is reasonable to assume the perpetrators past behaviour indicates they will not respond to mediation.)

Restorative practice (or restorative justice) is a harm reduction process where all parties with a stake in a particular offence or behaviour come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence or behaviour and its implications for the future.

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