Antisocial behaviour in relation to houses
7. Antisocial behaviour often takes place in or around the antisocial person's home, affecting neighbours and local community. Part 7 relates to this type of behaviour rather than antisocial behaviour in, say shopping areas, parks or pubs. The definition of antisocial behaviour for this purpose is therefore slightly different from the general definition of antisocial behaviour in the 2004 Act. It is:
"a person engages in antisocial behaviour if the person-
(a) acts in a manner that causes or is likely to cause alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance; or
(b) pursues a course of conduct that causes or is likely to cause alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance,
to a person residing in, visiting or otherwise engaging in lawful activity at, or in the locality of, a relevant house."
8. If this type of behaviour occurs in relation to an owner-occupied house, direct action against the antisocial behaviour may be appropriate, including the use of ASBO or closure powers by the local authority or the seeking of an interdict by a private individual.
9. If such behaviour occurs in relation to a house that is tenanted, the landlord also has a role. The landlord is letting the house, and like an owner-occupier has responsibilities to other owners and the community. That responsibility includes managing how the house is let and used, through the contract with the tenant and the powers available to the landlord to enforce the contract and to take action under statute.
10. Public sector landlords manage their houses on the basis of standards which are subject to an inspection regime and to general public accountability. Private sector landlords should also meet acceptable management standards, in connection with the tenant's behaviour as with other matters. The definition of antisocial behaviour quoted in paragraph 7 above corresponds to the ground for possession that applies to an assured tenancy or short assured tenancy under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988. This is an important point as it shows the link between the expectations of landlords under Part 7 of the 2004 Act and the powers available to the landlord in private sector tenancies.
11. Where the failure of a private sector landlord to meet acceptable management standards has a bearing on a problem of antisocial behaviour, the public authorities may need to intervene so that appropriate management actions are taken. That is the purpose of the Part 7 provisions.