Dealing with anti-social behaviour

Worthing Homes is committed to taking positive action (in partnership with other agencies) to deal with anti-social behaviour (ASB). We recognise the negative impact that ASB can have on an area if allowed to persist.

When signing up to one of our tenancies, residents are made aware of the importance of behaving responsibly and advised that we treat all reports of ASB very seriously.

Below you will find useful information about what is and is not classed as anti-social behaviour, and what steps you can take to deal with it.

What is ASB?

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) can range from everyday incidents such as continual noise nuisance to criminal behaviour.

Examples of behaviour that we treat as anti-social include:

  • intimidation and harassment;
  • dealing or taking drugs;
  • violence or threats of violence;
  • hate related incidents;
  • criminal behaviour;
  • domestic abuse;
  • dumping of rubbish (fly-tipping), graffiti, nuisance vehicles;
  • pet nuisance or uncontrolled animals;
  • noise nuisance such as continual loud music.

What isn’t ASB?

In most cases the following incidents would not be considered as anti-social, so would not be investigated:

  • one-off parties where there is no evidence that the incident will reoccur;
  • normal behaviour occurring at unusual times because of different working patterns provided the resident is attempting to keep disturbance to a minimum;
  • clash of lifestyles, including cultural differences;
  • children playing or babies crying;
  • noise transference due to poor sound insulation;
  • DIY in reasonable hours;
  • minor car repairs;
  • young people gathering socially;
  • disagreements between neighbours, such as parking or boundary issues;
  • disputes over social media.

ASB advice

Before you make a report, please have a look at our anti-social behaviour guide which provides useful information on different types of ASB, what action you can take and what we can do to help.

What to consider before reporting ASB

Approaching your neighbour

If you know who is causing the problem and feel safe to do so, speak to your neighbour about the issue and explain how their activity or behaviour is affecting you.

Most people do not realise that they are causing a problem and are reasonable if you talk to them in person.

Bear in mind that we tend not to investigate a report unless you have tried speaking to your neighbour first, unless you do not think it is safe to do so.

Here are some tips on how to approach your neighbour to let them know about a problem:

  1. Before speaking to them, ask yourself if you are being reasonable and tolerant.
  2. A friendly, calm approach is best – it may not be a good idea to speak to them in the heat of the moment when you are tired, frustrated, or angry.
  3. Do not shout or be aggressive as they may shout back at you and this can make the situation worse.
  4. Trying to speak to your neighbour face-to-face can be more informal.
  5. If you do not feel confident enough to approach them face-to-face, try using our Good Neighbour card to convey your concerns.
  6. Explain what is causing a problem and why.
  7. Listen to the other persons response – they may have a good reason for the behaviour, or it may have been a one-off.
  8. Try to reach a solution you are both happy with.
  9. If your neighbour is unreasonable or you feel yourself getting angry, walk away from the situation.
Keeping a record

Write down details of the incident when it happens – make a note of the time and date, as well as what you witnessed.

When you contact us to report ASB you will be asked for this information. If you are reporting excessive noise from a neighbour, please use The Noise App to record incidents (links to which can be found on our dealing with different types of noise page).

Anonymous reports

Please bear in mind that, although you may make reports of ASB anonymously, this can limit the action we are able to take and feedback we can give you.

We will not disclose your identity to the person causing ASB if you do not want us to. Even so, the person causing the ASB may be able to work out who made the report.

Who else should be told

Depending on the issue you are reporting, you may need to report it to another agency. If the behaviour is illegal or dangerous it is your responsibility to report this to the police, either on 999 if it is an emergency, or on 101 if the incident is less serious or has occurred in the past.

If you are reporting issues relating to pets, noise or rubbish dumping then you should also report this to your local council.

What happens after a report is made

Once a report is received, your Housing Officer will be in touch to talk you through the next steps.

Depending on the severity of the incident, you will be contacted between 1 and 5 working days.

If you call us to make a report, a member of the Customer Experience Team will discuss the incident with you and let you know when you can expect a call back if this is required.

Your Housing Officer will discuss your report with you and any action that you have taken so far. If the incidents are criminal in nature, they will advise you to contact the police if you have not done so already. If it is a less serious incident, they will ask you to approach your neighbour to try to resolve the issue between yourselves first.

We will review the evidence that we have and assess the severity of the ASB as well as its impact on you to decide what action we can take. It may not always be possible to act if we do not have strong enough evidence to prove the behaviour has been occurring. If this is the case, your Housing Officer will discuss this with you.

Following this review, your Housing Officer will discuss the incident(s) with you and agree on a way forward. This may include keeping in regular contact with you, referring you to mediation or asking that you keep a record of any further incidents on our diary sheets.

Wherever possible we try to resolve ASB as quickly as possible, however in more serious cases we may need to take legal action. If it comes to this, we would need strong evidence to prove to the court that the legal action is justified.

Eviction is always a last resort and only used in cases where there has been very serious ASB over a period of time. Worthing Homes must have legal grounds and enough evidence of the ASB to ask a court to evict a tenant.

Common myths about ASB

There are several myths and misunderstandings around ASB and the action we can take as the landlord of the property. Here are the most common:

Worthing Homes is responsible for the behaviour of its residents

We have a responsibility to respond to and deal with ASB as effectively as possible, however we are not responsible for the behaviour of residents. In addition to the legal responsibilities set out in our tenancy agreements, we will expect all residents to:

  • take responsibility for minor disputes between neighbours and try to resolve problems in a reasonable manner;
  • report all crimes, including threats or acts of violence, to the police;
  • respect each other and be tolerant of different lifestyles, opinions, cultures and values;
  • work with us and cooperate to resolve issues by attending mediation if advised to, providing regular reports of any incidents and, if necessary, witness statements and attending court;
  • be considerate to your neighbours by trying to reduce noise where possible and not cause a nuisance to them, their guests, Worthing Homes employees or contractors.

I only have to be quiet after 11PM and before 7AM

Noise can be considered as ASB at any time of the day or night if it happens often or causes nuisance or disturbance to others.

Worthing Homes should evict people who cause ASB

Eviction is always a last resort and only used in cases where there has been very serious ASB over a period of time. Worthing Homes must have legal grounds and enough evidence of the ASB to ask a court to evict a tenant.

There are other types of legal enforcement action that we may decide to take if appropriate to do so.

I can class anything I find annoying as ASB

Although someone’s actions may annoy you, it does not mean that they are behaving in an anti-social way. Examples of behaviour we do not consider to be anti-social include children playing, sounds of day-to-day living (such as footsteps or vacuuming), clash of lifestyles, and parking or boundary issues.

Please see our list of what is ASB and what isn’t ASB above for more examples.

I only need to report something once, even if the behaviour continues

We need as much evidence as possible to decide the best course of action to take. Legal action, if needed, can only be taken with the evidence to prove that the behaviour is unreasonable.