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Dealing with Anti-Social Tenants

Dealing with Anti-Social Tenants

Social landlords will regularly be faced with anti-social behaviour (ASB) by tenants. This article outlines some options to tackle ASB, where internal policies have been exhausted and there has been no improvement in the tenant’s behaviour.  

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO)

An Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) is a preventative measure that can be taken to stop a tenant from behaving anti-socially.

You can raise a Summary Application for an ASBO against anyone over the age of 12. An ASBO is a Civil Order granted by the Court containing specific conditions to prevent an individual from behaving in a particular manner. The Court must be satisfied that the following criteria is met:

  • The individual is at least 12 years of age
  • The individual has engaged in ASB towards a relevant person
  • An ASBO is necessary for the purpose of protecting relevant persons (such as neighbouring residents and persons within the vicinity of the tenancy) from further antisocial behaviour by the person

The application will set out certain things that the tenant is prohibited from doing. For example, not making excessive noise within the property, restricting the number of visitors allowed at the property, and prohibiting them from intimating or harassing anyone within the vicinity of the property.

Before raising any application, you will need to consult with Police and also notify the local authority of your intention to apply for an ASBO.

If the terms of the ASBO are breached by the tenant, this is a criminal offence, and the Police will be able to arrest the tenant and charge them in relation to this.   

Converting to a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy on ASB Grounds (SSST)

Where a tenant is subject to an ASBO or has been evicted in the last three years due to ASB, you can seek to convert the tenancy to a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST).

A Section 35 Notice should be served on the tenant in order to convert the tenancy. Tenants have the right to appeal any such conversion and therefore you should ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to correctly convert the tenancy.

The SSST will last for a period of twelve months, with the landlord having a duty to provide housing support services as are needed to enable the tenancy to convert to an SST at its conclusion. The SSST can be extended for a further period of six months where housing support is in place and sufficient improvement in the behaviour has not yet been demonstrated.

If the tenant continues to act anti-socially, the first step to terminate the tenancy is by serving either a NOP or Section 36 Notice on the tenant. A NOP can be served at any time during the duration of the tenancy and must give 4 weeks’ notice. Alternatively, a Section 36 Notice can be served. This must be done at least 2 months prior to the end of the tenancy. Both Notices must show the tenant’s breaches of their tenancy. If no action is taken to extend the SSST then it will automatically convert to an SST.

If the tenant does not vacate the property following service of the NOP or Section 36 Notice, you will require to apply to the Sheriff Court to seek an order for repossession of the property.

Raising a Court Action for Eviction

To raise a court action to evict a tenant for ASB, the tenant, a person living or visiting the tenant must have acted in an anti-social manner, or pursued a course of conduct amounting to harassment, for such a person and it is not reasonable in all the circumstances that the landlord should be required to make other accommodation available to the tenant.

A NOP must be served on the tenant prior to raising court action which should summarise the ASB, and the Sheriff must be satisfied that it is reasonable for Decree to be granted.

In 2019, a streamlined eviction process was introduced which allows court action to be raised where a criminal offence has taken place within the locality of the property. The criminal offence must result in conviction. There are a range of factors that you must consider when assessing whether to go down this route and we would recommend that advice is taken from us prior to any action being taken. The purpose of this ground is to allow action to be taken more quickly to help reduce the harm of the ASB and, therefore, a Sheriff does not require to assess reasonableness.

If you would like any further advice on how to tackle ASB, please contact our team.


Nicky Brechany