We were instructed in this case by Pioneer Housing and Community Group Limited (PHCG). PHCG is the freehold owner of a four bedroomed house on the Castle Vale estate in Birmingham (the property) of which their tenant has had an assured non shorthold tenancy since August 2007.
The tenant is a single mother and she still resides at the property with her four children who were aged 19, 18, 16 and 14 at the time PHCG took action in 2016.
The allegations concerning the anti-social behaviour of all members of the family consisted of:
- repeatedly using abusive language and threatening behaviour towards the staff of the Greenwood Academy which is located on the Castle Vale estate and which was attended by her younger children; and
- using foul and abusive language towards members of staff at PHCG.
The eldest son (aged 19) had:
- engaged in general anti-social behaviour on the Castle Vale estate by smoking drugs, swearing, fighting and generally intimidating people;
- been found guilty of driving without due care and attention on the Castle Vale estate in 2015;
- been identified as being one of the perpetrators involved in a robbery. The victim was hit several times and was asked whether he wanted to get stabbed before the perpetrators stole his bank card and ran off. When the police attended the property following the robbery they seized a bladed knife from his bedroom; and
- no respect for authority and was repeatedly abusive towards the police.
The younger children:
- Had displayed appalling behaviour whilst at the Greenwood Academy during which time they were verbally abusive and aggressive towards members of staff and other school children.
It was evident the eldest son had a degree of influence over the younger children and there was a real concern that if action was not taken to address the behaviour of this family as a whole they may ultimately lose their home.
Initially PHCG considered applying for civil injunction orders against the whole family, however, it subsequently decided to take such action against the tenant and her eldest son and also serve a Notice Seeking Possession against the tenant at the same time. Rather than just penalising the tenant, PHCG decided to seek some positive requirements around the tenant and her children engaging with local family support services. This was in the hope that by investing in the family in this way they could be equipped with skills to help them turn their lives around.
There were also discussions about whether an exclusion order should be sought against the eldest son excluding him from his home and the Castle Vale estate as a whole. However, after liaising extensively with the police it was felt to be more prudent to allow him to continue living in the family home primarily so that the police knew where he was and could keep a watchful eye over him.
Due to concern the tenant and her eldest son would react badly on receiving notification of PHCG's application, a decision was made to make the application on a without notice basis on 21 September 2016. Both the tenant and her eldest son were personally served with the interim injunction orders and powers of arrest. However, they made it abundantly clear they would not be attending the return date hearing. In the circumstances, final orders were made against them at this time.
Subsequently, the tenant has fully cooperated with support agencies and there has been a vast improvement in her behaviour to the extent that PHCG now consider her to be a model tenant.
Despite Notice Seeking Possession being served at the same time the interim injunction order and power of arrest, no further action has been necessary and very soon it will expire.
In relation to the tenant's eldest son, whilst there were some initial concerns that he had breached the terms of his injunction order, no further action against him has been necessary.
This is a case, which had all the hallmarks of a family spiralling out of control, it would appear that as a result of PHCG taking action to set boundaries for this family, they have been able to turn their lives around for the better. Hopefully, the eldest son will avoid prison and the other children will be dissuaded from engaging in anti-social or criminal behaviour in the future.