Haringey trial tenancy plan back by majority

NEW trial tenancies to combat rowdy residents have been introduced by Haringey Council.

From April 4 all new applicants for housing will initially be granted a 12-month starter tenancy instead of a permanent tenancy, during which time the council has powers to evict them swiftly if they cause any trouble.

The council carried out 18 evictions last year for anti-social behaviour.

“The simple message to the few tenants who misbehave is that they run the risk of losing their home,” said housing boss, Cllr John Bevan.

If a tenant behaves well during the probationary period they will be offered a permanent tenancy at the end of the 12 months. But if there are doubts about their behaviour, the council can extend the trial for a further six months.

Jackie Thomas, executive director of housing at Homes for Haringey, which provides housing on behalf of the council, said: “We know that anti-social behaviour is an important issue and we are committed to tackling it. Introductory tenancies will help us deal more quickly with tenants who commit anti-social behaviour or any other breaches and reassure neighbours and other residents that such conduct will not be tolerated.”

Problems that led to the measures being introduced included unpaid rent, excess noise, graffiti and verbal abuse or violence. Previously the legal process to evict a troublesome tenant took a minimum of three months.

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During consultations in 2009, some 89 per cent of tenants were in favour of the changes.

Cllr Bevan said: “We consulted widely and we received overwhelming support for this. The scheme will be just one of a number of measures to help improve the quality of life for residents.

“If a tenant is taken to court for bad behaviour during the 12 months, and we can show that we have been working with them to try to help, the judge has no option but to give us possession. In the past judges were very reluctant to evict.

“Of course this applies to a very small minority of our tenants and our preferred option is that it doesn’t happen at all.”

David Sherrington of Homes for Haringey said it was too early to comment on the results of the measures.

He said: “We don’t want to see an increase in eviction because that’s when we’ve failed. We want to keep people in their homes. For us eviction is a last resort.”

During the 12 months, ‘starter’ tenants do not have the legal rights of a permanent tenant to exchange, buy or sublet the property, take in lodgers or make any alterations.

Similar schemes have already been introduced in Camden, Hackney and other London boroughs.