Conflict and Accommodation rights
CONFLICT AND ACCOMMODATION RIGHTS
The Law Centre has received a number of queries from people being evicted from unauthorised sites or the roadside because they left Local Authority accommodation due to conflict.
It has proven difficult to convince the Local Authority to re-house these families as they claim they are unaware of the difficulties experienced as they were never informed. The Local Authority will claim the families voluntarily “surrendered their tenancy” and that they no longer have an obligation to accommodate them as they have been adequately accommodated.
We need information from Local Authorities on how they expect tenants to deal with conflict and where a family is being targeted what the Local Authority reasonably expects them to do before vacating their accommodation. There are a number of inter-agency groups working on the issue of conflict since 28th September 2009. These groups need to put ‘Conflict and Accommodation’ on their agenda and the Law Centre recommends that ITM put pressure on the groups to do so. The issue should also be raised at national and local consultative committee meetings.
The only procedure that appears to be in place to deal with conflict is the procedure for dealing with anti-social behaviour.
Anti-social behaviour is defined in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1997 as:
“ the manufacture, production, preparation, importation, exportation, sale, supply, possession for the purposes of sale or supply or distribution of a controlled drug ... "
“ any behaviour which causes or is likely to cause any significant or persistent danger, loss or fear to any person living, working or otherwise lawfully in or in the vicinity of a house provided by a housing authority, or a housing estate in which the house is situated and includes violence, threats, intimidation, coercion, harassment or serious obstruction of any person ... ”
What do I do if I am the subject of anti-social behaviour?
What happens next ?
- Keep diary or log of anti-social incidents, include the time, date and nature of the behaviour and the names of any witnesses.
- Consider calling the Gardaí if the behaviour is criminal. If the Gardaí attend, get the name of the Garda, an incident number or a pulse number.
- Make a complaint to the Anti-social Behaviour Unit of your Local Authority. This should be in writing and you should keep a copy of the letter and any reply.
The unit records, monitors and investigates all allegations of Anti-social behaviour. At the end of the investigation you will be informed of the result. The result could be a verbal warning or a written warning.
In cases where the complaints are proven, are of a high priority and are persistent and where all other steps taken by the Council have not resolved the issue, the Council should serve a "Notice to Quit" on those involved in the anti-social behaviour and seek their eviction.
If the Local Authority fails to act you should contact ITM for support.