The Housing Act 2004 contains a variety of measures designed to protect householders from the ‘neighbour from hell’, through measures targeting private landlords who turn a blind eye to disruptive behaviour by their tenants.
The Act includes a regime of compulsory licensing of landlords in designated problem areas. All private landlords are required to obtain from their local housing authority a licence to rent properties used for multiple occupation. The granting of such licences depends on whether the landlord is a fit and proper person to let property and requires that certain minimum standards are met. Landlords now have to manage their tenants properly, policing noisy or disruptive tenants appropriately and evicting them where necessary. This measure was introduced with the intention of helping local authorities to stop bad landlords and anti-social tenants from undermining other measures in place to help neighbourhoods that are in decline.
In addition, the Government strengthened the hand of local authorities to deal with problem tenants by updating the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. One of the more controversial aspects of this was the introduction in June 2005 of Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, which gives local authorities powers to deal with complaints about high hedges, if a recalcitrant neighbour refuses to do so.