Housing associations have been debating recently how to cope with the increase in demand for housing, and also how to improve relations with their tenants so that they both can cope with the upcoming welfare reforms and the housing crisis. Many housing associations, along with private and social landlords, have invested in landlord insurance policies that can help them cover the cost of legal fees if they have to take their tenants for court, especially those that become involved in anti-social behaviour or consistently fail to pay their rent.
Now, a housing association in Kent is debating barring people from their housing register if they have been involved in anti-social behaviour, especially as they have such a long waiting list of people looking for accommodation. The Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has claimed that this proposal will help them deal with their two thousand person long waiting list, and also ensure that neighbourhoods in the Kent area remain peaceful.
Discussing the new proposal, cabinet member for housing John Cunningham said: “We are seeking to ensure that those who have made other people’s lives a misery are not able to apply for social housing as everyone is entitled to quiet enjoyment of their homes. We look forward to the consultation responses, but have in mind applying this to any member of a family where there is a substantial evidence of anti-social behaviour. This will not be new policy – this criteria is part of the current Housings Allocations Policy.”
However, the Citizens Advice Bureau has said that the new proposal could be a breach of human rights, and that the proposal is currently too vague. A case worker from the Citizens Advice Bureau, Stuart Jeffreys said: “This is moving from very specific precise controlled circumstances to a very broad situation. We don’t think this is fair, reasonable or necessary. However, the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has said that they would be “mindful of wider legislation” if the proposal goes through.