Chair’s Blog by Robin Deane

Well we did all that, and you lot did nothing!”.

Cathy, our Anti Social Behaviour Manager, was getting a hard time at my organisation’s residents’ steering group this week.  She was explaining the importance of keeping diary sheets to record evidence of noise and other incidents.  Two residents from a scheme where there had been problems in the past were… sceptical to say the least.  Body language around the room suggested they weren’t alone.  I could see why.  Serious anti social behaviour doesn’t happen too often in older people’s housing.  But when it does, it affects everyone.  So the concerns around the room were understandable.

But Cathy cheerfully continued, admitted she’d been driven to yelling out her front window at her own noisy neighbour, and bit by bit won them over. She explained what staff do in relation to different types of incidents.  She told them cooking smells weren’t anti social behaviour.  Nor was loud noise from a one-off barbecue.  You had to have a bit of give and take.  She showed them copies of the forms we use to record the impact on victims.  She outlined the courses of action open to a landlord.  She told them the typical cost of an injunction was around £1,500, and that a case going to Court could easily cost ten times more.  She said bluntly that her job was not to seek to have people thrown out of their homes, but to help resolve the problem, and keep everyone IN their homes.  And by the end of the discussion there was a rather thoughtful mood in the room.

We wrapped up the session by suggesting everyone went back to their schemes ready to encourage people experiencing anti social behaviour to keep careful records.  And to appreciate that things may be going on behind the scenes we couldn’t talk about.  And of course, the amazing Cathy stopped after the meeting to talk to people who had particular concerns about their own schemes. 

I guess there will always be anti social behaviour for us landlords to deal with.  In older people’s housing, where three generations can be living literally on top of each other, there are particular patterns and common issues.  That’s why erosh is now working on a good practice guide about anti social behaviour.  We’ll gather together the best advice and ideas there are.  We’re interested your experience.  Let us know what works for you and – who knows – it may inspire others.

Contact: with your thoughts.

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