Council gets tough on anti-social tenants

by Gazette Reporter

DUBLIN City Council is planning to get tough on anti-social social housing with exclusion orders and evictions part of its beefed-up strategy.

The local authority is also considering refusing fresh housing applications from ‘neighbours from hell’ type tenants who have given trouble before.

A recent council meeting heard that up until 2018 the council had “no teeth” to evict problem tenants, until a gap in legislation was addressed.

The new strategy will see the council target people with a history of anti-social and criminal behaviour to keep them out of its housing estates and flat complexes.

DCC housing official Mick Clarke said: “Between 2011 and 2018 we effectively had no teeth, we could huff and puff but we couldn’t deliver any action.” 

This created a “legacy” he said “of communities believing we weren’t doing anything”.

Information relating to anti-social behaviour of applicants “including information received from recognised local community groups” will be considered “and may lead to refusal”, the draft strategy states.

It adds: “We will refuse to make an allocation of social housing, or will defer the making of an allocation, where we consider that a household (or member of the household) has been engaged in anti-social behaviour” or if providing housing “would not be in the interest of good estate management.”

The policy would also apply to applications to take over the tenancy of a deceased relative or for tenants seeking the housing assistance payment.

The draft strategy categorises anti-social behaviours into three levels ranging from activities such as dog fouling, to racism, to drugs offences and organised crime.

Where existing tenants were engaged in anti-social or criminal behaviour, they may be issued with a “tenancy warning”. 

If the anti-social behaviour continues, within 12 months the council may start eviction proceedings.

The move comes as residents living in the Oliver Bond flat complex in the south inner city say they are “living in fear” due to open drug dealing and drug use.

A spokesperson for the residents’ committee, who also complained of intimidation, said the area “has become a major hotspot for drugs”.

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