Dublin City Council’s Plan for the Prevention and
Reduction of Anti-Social Behaviour 2021-2025.
The Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009 provides for the adoption of an Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy for the prevention and reduction of anti-social behaviour in local authority housing stock. This strategy contributes to a key strategic goal of Dublin City Council’s Corporate Plan 2020 – 2024, namely: Safe, Thriving Neighbourhoods. The Dublin City Local Economic and Community Plan (2016-2021) similarly has objective around safety in the city and people’s communities, and tackling the causes and consequences of the drugs crisis in the city through evidence informed actions. Having clear strategies to prevent, mitigate and tackle anti-social behaviour is a vital component in order to maintain these strategic aims.
Dublin City Council is the largest provider of social housing in Ireland. We have just under 25,000 tenancies across the city. The delivery of new homes and the regeneration of existing estates is a core priority for the city and we have a strong pipeline of delivery over the next 5 years. Developing our estate management capacity is critical to ensuring that we meet our objectives of providing safe, thriving
neighbourhoods, reducing opposition to new social housing developments, supporting areas that have or will be regenerated over the coming years, and ensuring we sustain what is working well.
It is our experience that the vast majority of our tenants are responsible residents and neighbours. The behaviour of a small minority has at times distorted the general view of social housing or the reputation of particular estates. The discussion on estate management is often narrowed to the question of evictions but in reality we rely on a far broader range of interventions. It is also our experience that the majority
of complaints are best managed through early and appropriate intervention strategies.
In 2019 we began an extensive review of estate management in Dublin City Council. Learning from what worked and what didn’t has informed this review, as well as the recommendations of area specific reports, including on the North East Inner City, Darndale and the South Inner City. Additionally, there have been significant legislative changes since 2010, when the last policy was adopted; in particular
the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. This strategy takes account of the requirements of the new Act.
Our strategies include prevention, partnership, enforcement and continuous improvement. To complement the work on the ground, we will develop high-level, targeted, collaborative, multi-agency responses in areas that have borne the worst effects of drug-dealing, criminality and gangland feuding. We will invest in strengthening our systems, processes and learning, including complaints investigation, and the use of proactive estate management strategies to really make a difference to our estates and complexes, and in multi-development units. We have many new communities in our estates since 2010: we will work on our approach to inclusion in considering the different needs of a diverse population.
In promoting good estate management, Local Authorities and An Garda Síochána have different powers to prevent and reduce anti-social behaviour. Dublin City Council commits to using its powers in full under the Housing Acts and to collaborating closely with key statutory agencies including the An Garda Síochána to prevent and reduce anti-social behaviour. We will do everything we can to support
our tenants in the peaceful enjoyment of their homes but we respect the separate and distinct role of An Garda Síochána to investigate and prosecute criminal acts.
Given the changing environment and growth in organised and very serious criminality witnessed in the decade since the last strategy was adopted, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the staff who demonstrated bravery and resilience in tackling anti-social behaviour and to acknowledge the role of housing, waste management and community departments in working together to make our estates and complexes safer and better places to live.
Deputy Chief Executive, Dublin City Council.
- MISSION STATEMENT
Dublin City Council is committed to working towards the provision of safe, thriving
neighbourhoods. We aim to ensure the tenants and their neighbours can live peacefully in their homes and communities. We will take all appropriate steps to prevent and reduce behaviour that compromises this objective.
Every local authority has a statutory duty to adopt and review an anti-social behaviour strategy for the prevention and reduction of anti-social behaviour in its housing stock. It is the policy of Dublin City Council to:
- Inform tenants of their rights and responsibilities with regard to antisocial behaviour;
- Take seriously and investigate complaints of anti-social behaviour;
- Take appropriate action where anti-social behaviour is occurring;
- Ensure any actions are in compliance with the powers invested to it under the Housing Acts 1966-2014 (ref to Appendix 1)
- Adopt a multi-agency approach, ensuring close relations with the Garda Síochána,
and other relevant in dealing with anti-social behaviour cases;
- Provide co-ordinated services internally to support the anti-social behaviour strategy.
Listed below are the principles that the Council will abide by in the implementation
of this policy:
- All cases will be dealt with in accordance with fair, impartial and objective
- Treat any complaint in a confidential manner and keep any information provided
confidential, unless consent is obtained to do otherwise
- Aim to intervene early in cases of antisocial behaviour and apply persuasive
measures before formal or legal enforcement action is instigated
- Take enforcement action that is proportionate to the seriousness of the antisocial
- Seek opportunities and learning from feedback from communities and stakeholders on our performance.
- Continuously evaluate the efficacy of our approaches and aim to consistently improve practice.
This strategy applies to those parts of the city where the Council has Tenancy Dwellings, Relevant Purchaser Dwellings and Traveller Sites. Anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Residential Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) properties is additionally covered under Landlord Tenant legislation (Residential Tenancies Acts).
5. STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
Our overall objective is to provide safe and peaceful neighbourhoods for Dublin City Council tenants, and their neighbours, to reside in. We will aim to prevent and reduce incidences of anti-social behaviour in affected communities where community members are negatively affected. We will deliver this through strategies that are based on Prevention, Partnership, Enforcement, and Continuous Improvement. Below is a summary of the commitments that we will adhere to in the delivery of this strategy, including actions and associated procedures.
Proactive Estate Management: Prevention and Early Intervention
We commit to good estate management in order to prevent issues escalating into full scale anti-social behaviour. Estate management recognises that achieving evictions through legal processes can be complex and emphasises the use of all the other powers of the local authority to prevent getting to that point. This section lays out the preventative actions, in relation to estate management checks prior to allocation of housing, and early intervention, engaging tenants at the initial stages of their tenancy, and to provide assistance to tenants, throughout their tenancy, who require support to maintain and sustain their tenancies.
Working In Partnership: Building Key Relationships
We commit to working in partnership to effectively tackle anti-social behaviour. In recognition that better outcomes can be achieved by a co-ordinated multi-agency response, Dublin City Council will continue to identify, engage and build working relationships with key personnel in An Garda Síochána and other key external agencies, particularly where the relevant response extends beyond the remit of the Council’s authority and where outside expertise is required to resolve issues.
This section outlines the variety of partnerships we engage with in order to foster pro-active, preventative and reactive actions to combat anti-social behaviour and behaviours of concern in our communities.
Robust and Proportionate Enforcement: Consequences for Anti-Social Behaviour
We commit to enforcement measures, where anti-social behaviour has escalated to a scale that is causing severe disruption to the peaceful and safe enjoyment of one’s neighbourhood, community and home. We will consider the use of all reasonable measures available to combat antisocial behaviour. We will ensure that all tenants are aware of the consequences and sanctions imposed up them, pertaining to both their current and future housing options, should they be found to been willingly and consistently engaged in anti-social behaviour. Tenants will be made aware that, while the loss of one’s home is the last resort, where preventative and deterrent measures have not been successful, consequences can be severe, up to and
including legal action to repossess a tenancy on grounds of anti-social behaviour. This section lays out the type and duration of consequences for tenants and members of their household.
Effective Complaints Response: Investigation of Complaints & Associated Action
We commit to providing an accountable system of managing complaints related to anti-social behaviour, supported by roust policy and procedures. We will take every complaint seriously: taking, investigating and managing complaints, from a minor breach of tenancy agreement, to those of a more serious nature. We will treat every complaint confidentially. In our processes, we will guarantee procedural safeguards are in place, following due procedure: ensuring a fair and impartial investigation of complaints, with measures imposed proportionate to the findings. This section lays out the process in more detail, including the categorisation of complaints, the complaints process, and the variety of potential actions that can be taken by the Council, arising from the findings of the investigation.
Investing in Delivery of our Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy
Dublin City Council is committed to delivering on actions and targets detailed in this strategy. We are investing in a dedicated team to deliver on this strategy. Area Offices have the primary responsibility to respond to anti-social behaviour in their areas of operation, supported by a dedicated team in the central office, who provide technical support and will be responsible for monitoring the delivery of the identified strategic actions. This section lays out the responsibilities of each section. It also lays out details in terms of investment in staff training and in evaluating our process around complaints management, as well consideration of investment in evaluation of key best practice pilots. We are committed to being accountable and examining our reporting systems, so that that we can provide a comprehensive picture of the work carried out by our office in terms of mitigating and managing anti-social behaviour
and delivering safer neighbourhoods.
Accountability and Continuous Improvement: Priority Actions
The final chapter in the strategy lays out the priority actions, expected outcomes and means of verification for each of these actions. Dublin City Council will compile and collate on a quarterly and annual basis, statistics for each of the housing areas. We will also review the progress against strategic actions on a yearly basis.
- STRATEGIC PRIORITIES IN FOCUS
Strategies are based on the objectives of Prevention, Multi-Stakeholder Engagement, Enforcement, and Continuous Improvement. Below is a summary of the commitments that we will adhere to in the delivery of this strategy. The associated strategic actions and procedures are outlined in subsequent sections.
6.1. PREVENTION & EARLY INTERVENTION
The Allocations & Transfers section, and local Allocations staff, will have regard to the overall number of vacancies arising in an area and promote the best interests of estate management in making offers of available social housing to tenants in the offer zone. In addition, in schemes where multiple lettings become available at the same time, there will be regard to the tenant mix in order to promote good estate management. This will include consideration of the age and profile of household members, the mix between working and non-working households and the numbers of other family members in the same estate or immediate housing area. The
Council’s Housing Allocations scheme will have regard to the adopted Anti-Social Behaviour policy.
All applicants for housing by Dublin City Council will be subject to vetting in relation to AntiSocial Behaviour before a final decision is made. As part of its vetting procedure the Council will request information under section 15 of the 1997 Act as amended from An Garda Síochána, and other agencies if necessary. The social housing application form makes this clear
In making an allocation, Dublin City will consider:
a) History of previous tenancies;
b) Issues specific to particular estates or housing areas.
Where incidences of anti-social behaviour are noted, each case will be considered on an individual basis, and consider:
c) The nature and number of offences;
d) The taking of responsibility for past behaviour;
e) Where a person has previous convictions and has served their term/ has been discharged from prison, we must be satisfied that the person has desisted from anti-social behaviour and that sufficient time has elapsed to show evidence of this.
A decision to refuse /defer an allocation on grounds of estate management will be made in writing with the appeal mechanism as described in Section 3 ‘Decision and Right to Appeal’. To minimise voids the allocations and vetting processes may run in parallel but all offers of social housing are conditional on full estate management checks.
6.1.2 Tenancy Agreement & Tenants’ Handbook
A revised Tenancy Agreement will be introduced as part of this Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy. The tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract and we will revise the tenants’ handbook to provide an up to date, easy to read, guide to the rights and responsibilities of DCC’s tenants.
6.1.3 Pre-Tenancy/Tenancy Signing
Area staff will meet with housing applicants at pre-letting stage. This is an opportunity to engage with tenants on being a good neighbour. A copy of the tenancy agreement terms and conditions will be made available on the website and applicants will be advised to read it prior to formal signing. This will allow more time for an applicant to ask questions and fully understand the terms of the agreement.
6.1.4 Tenancy Supports
Dedicated support for tenancy sustainment is provided for tenants of Dublin City Council where there is evidence that a tenant’s support needs are affecting their ability to manage their tenancy. Additionally, a specific services is provided to tenants who are exiting homeless services, in recognition that additional supports may be required to support people and families to re-adjust and adapt to managing their own home. This service is provided within the first 6 months of a person starting their tenancy and is complementary to that of Dublin City Council estate management staff, with the focus specifically on supporting tenants to understand their
responsibilities when moving from homeless services and providing practical assistance.
6.1.5 DCC’s Housing Welfare Service: Social Protection Section
The Social Protection section houses Dublin City Council’s social work service. A housing welfare officer is a professional social worker employed by Dublin City Council. The Social Work section will directly assist and co-ordinate effective multi agency responses to tenants who require support to maintain their tenancy. They have a critical role in ensuring tenants can access the supports they need to maintain their tenancy. The social work section also provides a professional mediation service. Mediation can be used for neighbour disputes, nuisance/noise disputes, conflict within families, landlord/tenant disagreements and home-owner/tenant disagreements. Mediation is confidential, non-confrontational, voluntary and free of charge.
6.1.6 Sheltered Housing Liaison Officers
In Older Persons’ Accommodation, liaison officers maintain regular contact to provide practical support and guidance to older persons in our complexes. In instances of low-level anti-social behaviour, the liaison officer will intervene early.
The Housing Maintenance section is responsible for maintaining, repairing and controlling the City Council’s rented housing stock. Houses and apartments are prepared to a specific standard before any new tenant moves in and we will carry out structural repairs to properties, as a result of fair wear and tear and as long the tenant is not in rent arrears. To curb any potential anti-social behaviour, Housing Maintenance will manage any vacant properties, as they can present an opportunity for anti-social gatherings and/or unlawful occupation. A plan will then be made to refurbish and re-let vacant properties. Any emergency repairs or actions, that are required due to health and safety reasons, will be accommodated in conjunction with
the local area office.
6.1.8 Planning & the Built Environment
We will develop a built environment and public spaces that are designed to deter crime and anti-social behaviour, which promote safety and which accord with the principles of universal design. To this end, Housing Development will explicitly seek input from Estate Management Teams in the relevant area office to ‘design out’ potential blackspots in new build or regeneration projects. We will continue to invest in lighting and CCTV as a deterrent in areas that have potential for anti-social behaviour.
6.1.9 Community & Integration
There exists substantial community groups striving for safe, vibrant communities with positive opportunities and alternatives for children and young adults in the area, funded by Dublin City Council and other statutory funded schemes. These provide vehicles for positive community action in the areas of community development, family support, youth services, drugs supports and youth justice. We will prioritise allocation of Community Development resources to areas and projects that
directly or indirectly promote good estate management and reduce anti-social behaviour.
6.2. BUILDING KEY RELATIONSHIPS
In recognition that better outcomes can be achieved by a co-ordinated multi-agency response, the City Council works very closely with a number of agencies to promote safe, thriving communities and good estate management. As part of a strategic approach to community safety, we will develop local level multi-agency responses to targeting specific cases or where there are areas of very serious anti-social
behaviour which will need collective action to be effective. At the local area level, we engage with a broad spectrum of networks and groups in order to maximise cohesive action in relation to issues that cross-cut with actions to prevent, mitigate and respond to anti-social behaviour specific to each community.
6.2.1 An Garda Siochana
We have a strong working relationship with An Garda Síochána, and this will continue to be fostered and worked upon. To further enhance this good relationship Dublin City Council and An Garda Síochána will continue to jointly agree protocols governing the liaison process, particularly at local level.
We work closely with An Garda Síochána and other agencies in relation to the vetting of prospective tenants and in gathering evidence as part of the investigation of complaints. Depending on the seriousness of the anti-social behaviour this may range from coordination to joint initiative.
While particular incidents can fall within both anti-social and criminal classifications it is important to state that the local authority’s role is to pursue resolutions through the anti-social provisions of the Housing Acts using the civil law and An Garda Síochána‘s role is to pursue incidents through criminal justice mechanisms.
There is increasing emphasis on encouraging and facilitating all persons, irrespective of the mental and physical health needs, to live in the community, rather than in congregated residential settings. Funding and investment in these residential facilities is now targeted towards community support and the HSE is building its capacity to provide more care in the community. Where there are cases involving clients that may require additional health/care supports to meet their tenancy obligations, timely access to community based specialist services and supports is vital.
The local Area Housing Officer, along with our Welfare Service and/or our Tenancy
Sustainment service, will engage with relevant persons in the HSE, where the reasons that a tenancy is breaking down or in jeopardy are related, in part, to the health presentation of persons residing in the home. Multi-disciplinary case conferences are arranged, with the purpose of pooling information to identify and determine actions from relevant sections, to seek alternative actions that will contribute to the tenant remaining in in their home and preventing potential exclusion from, or re-possession of, the home.
Where there are complaints related to child welfare concerns, we will refer these immediately to TUSLA, who are the statutory agencies responsible for investigating and responding to child welfare concerns. Dublin City Council housing staff will remain in close contacts with these services in order to support families with complex needs whose tenancies are in jeopardy.
6.2.4 Voluntary agencies
We partner with a number of voluntary agencies to support and augment our support services in the community, such as tenancy sustainment services for people who have come from homelessness, as well as voluntary organisations that support elderly people.
6.2.5 Management Agents and Owner Management Companies
Recognising the increasing provision of social housing in mixed developments and apartment complexes, we will aim to develop our relationships and engagement with management agents and owner management companies with respect to our obligations around tenant and anti-social behaviour management.
6.2.6 Other Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies
Dublin City Council has a good relationship with other local authorities and often engages with them regarding shared responsibilities in the area of combating Anti-Social Behaviour. Information is also exchanged in relation to housing applicants moving from one authority’s jurisdiction to another.
Close links are maintained with Approved Housing Bodies to support good estate management, manage nominations and to exchange information regarding anti-social behaviour.
6.2.7 Area Based Initiatives
Within each area of Dublin City Council, there are area based, cross-cutting initiatives taking place under the lead of Directors of Service for Northside and Southside. These initiatives will set up bespoke responses to that area.
Local Community Development Committees & Community Consultative Forums: Dublin City Council is committed to working in partnership with residents and tenants to promote good estate management in their communities. We will consult with recognised groups in relation to tackling anti-social behaviour, and on issues which may affect their physical environment and/or their community safety. Our Community Officers will promote the development of tenant associations and the involvement of tenants in building safer communities. Through relevant forums, we will actively seek feedback from communities on how the Council is managing its housing stock and what improvements can be made at the local level.
Joint Policing Committees and Local Policing Fora and Community Safety Groups: Joint Policing Committees (JPCs) provide a dedicated forum to support consultation, cooperation and synergy on policing and crime issues between An Garda Síochána, local authority officials, elected representatives, and the community and voluntary sectors. Public meetings are held on a quarterly basis to discuss relevant issues from the respective areas. Local Policing Foras (LPFs) are four community level structures within the overall JPC framework including the South West Inner City, Canal Communities, Dublin 12 and Ballyfermot/Chapelizod. Dublin City
Council is providing funding for a coordinator support person for the four LPF’s which will provide better cohesion. Dublin City Council also participates in Community Safety Groups (CSGs) where there is collaboration on issues from community, law enforcement and landlord (Dublin City Council).
Local Safety Partnerships: In recognition that communities themselves are best placed to both understand the context of the environment they are living in and, consequently, to identifying home ground solutions to the issues they face, the Local Community Safety Partnerships (LCSP) initiatives are being piloted in a number of areas across the country, as part of the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CFPI), one of which is the North East Inner City. It recognises the vital importance for sustainable communities that there is active engagement of the community in owning both the challenges and the solutions to
their specific problems. Dublin City Council will working in partnership and closely support the pilot to develop and implement local community safety plans that respond to the specific needs of the community. Similar initiatives are taking place in other areas, such as Safer Ballymum and Safer Finglas, an action based, problem solving partnership between An Garda Siochana, Dublin City Council and the local community, and Building Community Resilience in Dublin South Central Area.
Local Drug Task Forces were established in response to the drug crisis that was devastating the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Dublin at that time. There are eight Local Drug and Alcohol Task Forces (LDATF) in Dublin City: Ballyfermot, Ballymun, Canal Communities, Dublin 12, Dublin North East, Finglas Cabra, North, Inner City and South Inner City. We work closely with the LDTF to support the development of effective responses to the drug crisis through the use of area-based partnerships between the statutory, voluntary and community sectors including public representatives. We work with the Task Force to develop and implement area specific strategies and working to address gaps in services.
Youth Services: We engage with a variety of local services that are aimed at reaching out to young disadvantaged children. The Children and Young People’s Services Committees (CYPSCs) are county-level committees that bring together the main statutory, community and voluntary providers of services to children and young people. They provide a forum for joint planning and co-ordination of activity to ensure that children, young people and their families receive improved and accessible services. Staff in our Area offices will engage with youth development and diversion projects. This will include coordination of efforts through CYPSC’s.
We also work closely and support projects such as Young People at Risk (YPAR) in the North East Inner City and other similar services across the city and the TRY programme in Dublin South Central Area. Dublin City Council also supports the Dublin 8/12 Restorative Practice Project and the Ballyfermot Restorative Practice Project that are a coalition of youth workers, community workers, Gardaí and Dublin City Council staff who believe that Restorative Practice can make a valuable contribution to effective work in local schools, neighbourhoods and community and youth centres. We also engage closely with Youth Centres in all areas where
Community Inclusion: Taking a steer from the Government’s Migrant Integration Strategy, the North East Inner City (NEIC) Initiative, supported by Dublin City Council and the Department of Justice, has invested in research to outline the challenges and opportunities for building cross-community cohesion. Tentative steps are being taken to realise some of the recommendations within this report and will act as a guide for further enhancement of engagement in preventative measures around anti-social behaviour targeted at minority ethnic people.
6.3. ROBUST CONSEQUENCES FOR ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
While it is the primary objective to support tenants to remain in their home, the actions outlined in the previous two priorities, in terms of supporting sustainment of tenancies, prevention and early intervention measures do not always suffice. It is necessary to have sufficient sanctions in place that will provide an extra layer of deterrence in place for tenants and/or their household members to desist in acting in a way that interferes with the safe and peaceful occupation of their neighbours’ homes. Where a tenant or a household member has been found to have been or currently is engaged in anti-social behaviour, there are significant consequences to
The section outlines the consequences that will be in place for households found to have been or currently engaged in anti-social behaviour by Dublin City Council. This includes tenants who are the subject of a tenancy warning, or where they have previously been found to have been involved in serious anti-social behaviour in recent years, and are applying to let, purchase, seek permission to reside, or seek to succeed a home from the Council.
6.3.1 Refuse to/Defer to Allocate
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 where an allocation to that household would not be in the interest of good estate management or where the household doesn’t provide information requested relating to persons residing or proposing to reside together as part of the household.
6.3.2 Refuse to/Defer to Sell a Dwelling
We will refuse to sell or defer the sale of a dwelling to a person if we consider the person has been engaged in Anti-Social Behaviour or the sale would not be in the interest of good estate management.
6.3.3 Refusal to Succeed
Dublin City Council makes provision in its allocation scheme for the succession of household members in prescribed circumstances where a tenant is deceased. We will refuse an application to succeed if we consider a person has been engaged in Anti-Social Behaviour or if we believe the succession to tenancy would not be in the interest of good estate management.
6.3.4 Refuse Permission to Reside
We will refuse an application to reside to any person who has been engaged in anti-social behaviour or if we consider such permission would not be in the interest of good estate management.
6.3.5 Rehousing Following Eviction / Exclusion
Any persons who are/were the subject of an excluding order, or Notice of Termination on grounds of Anti-Social Behaviour will not be considered for rehousing for a minimum period of two years and / or until such time as Dublin City Council is satisfied that they are capable of living, and agreeable to living in the community without engaging in such behaviour.
6.3.6 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)
We may refuse to permit a person who proposes to take up, or resume residence, or enter or be in a dwelling the subject of housing assistance (HAP) where we consider the person is or has been engaged in Anti-social behaviour. We will refuse an application for HAP if the property is in the vicinity of the area from which a tenant was evicted or excluded or engaged in antisocial behaviour.
We may refuse to provide standard, non-emergency, non-Health and Safety/Environmental Health related maintenance to a household where they have a tenancy warning.
6.3.8 Decision & Right to Appeal
In determining if a person has been engaged in anti-social behaviour, we will use the powers given to the Housing Authority under Section 15 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1997 as amended which allows us to carry out checks on all social housing applicants including obtaining information from other agencies.
An applicant will be informed in writing of the grounds for a refusal/deferral on estate
management grounds by the relevant section. An appeal of such a decision may be made in writing within 21 days. An applicant may also apply in writing to have a decision reviewed after 12 months. Each case will be considered on an individual basis but we must be satisfied that the person has desisted from anti-social behaviour and that sufficient time has elapsed to show evidence of this.
6.4. INVESTIGATION AND PROPORTIONATE SANCTION
This section lays out the phases involved regarding complaints related anti-social behaviour. The first phase outlines the making of a complaint. The second phase outlines how the complaint will be categorised. Phase three outlines the process of investigation. The fourth phase outlines the various options available to the council in deciding what appropriate action to take, following the findings of an investigation and includes detail of how to submit a review of a tenancy warning. Phase five outlines specifically legal actions that can be taken, where all other options, outlined in Phase three, have been exhausted, or where the anti-social behaviour was of such a serious nature, that the reasonable consequential action is exclusion or
repossession of the home. Phase six outlines the procedure for the repossession of a home.
6.4.1 PHASE ONE: MAKING A COMPLAINT
22.214.171.124 Where & how to make a complaint
Dublin City Council will accept and deal with complaints of anti-social behaviour against tenants, relevant purchasers, Chapter 4 tenants (RAS) and licencees within its areas of responsibility.
If a person is a victim of anti-social behaviour by a Dublin City Council tenant, or a member of a tenant’s household, they should make contact with their local Area Housing Office to make a complaint. Initial complaints can also be made via email or letter, over the phone, or in person via the following channels:
- A complaint can be made via email to email@example.com
- Contact Customer Services – 01-2222222 who will transfer the complaint or refer the
complainant to relevant housing area office. The addresses and telephone numbers of area offices can be found in the Tenants’ Handbook, the Anti-Social Behaviour leaflet and Dublin City Council website..
- A complaint can be made in writing to the Dublin City Council, Anti-social Behaviour Unit, Housing and Community Services, Block 1, Floor 1, Civic Offices, Dublin 8.
- In the case of Traveller specific accommodation a person also has the option of making the complaint to the Traveller Accommodation Unit, Block 1, Floor 2, Civic Offices, Fishamble Street, Dublin 8.
Where a complaint is made to the central office, the complaint will be referred to the relevant local office.
Where a person has made a complaint of anti-social behaviour, they will normally be
contacted within 5 days of the complaint being received by the relevant office. They will usually be requested to attend Dublin City Council Offices so that the housing officer can take a detailed complaint. It is important to establish all of the facts of the complaint, in order to determine the next steps.
Many complaints can be dealt with at the first point of contact – an incident may be resolved without resorting to a formal process. The designated officer will then need to establish the reliability and credibility of the complaint. They must capture the nature, duration, and scale of the anti-social behaviour, and who was involved and impacted. They will then need to review if any previous complaints of a similar nature have been received in relation to the same tenant within a reasonable timeframe, to determine the category of the complaint and whether or not to proceed with a formal process. In some cases, an investigation will not be carried out as it will have been determined that the complaint was vexatious or without substance, or does not relate to a relevant Dublin City Council tenant or is outside the remit of Dublin City Council. Complaints will be recorded on the Housing Department’s computerised system. Access to these records is restricted to staff with an assigned responsibility for managing anti-social behaviour.
126.96.36.199 Complaints related to a criminal matter
It is beyond our powers to investigate a complaint with an associated criminal nature, without having this matter at first being addressed by An Garda Síochána. While it is important that neighbours and community members notify us of concerns that they may have, regarding tenants of Dublin City Council, whom they suspect may be involved in anti-social behaviour of a criminal nature, in the tenants respective home or in the vicinity of their home, this must be addressed by An Garda Síochána in the first instance.
A criminal matter requires investigation by An Garda Síochána and complainants contacting about criminal matters must be referred to this body. We will give every assistance to An Garda Síochána and take enforcement measures where there is evidence of Dublin City Council tenants engaged in persistent or serious behaviour.
188.8.131.52 Complaints related to Domestic Violence and Child Welfare
An Garda Síochána and TUSLA are the statutory agencies responsible for investigating and responding to domestic violence and child welfare concerns respective. Dublin City Council staff will advise complainants of the remedies and supports available to them. Affected families can be referred to Dublin City Council’s welfare section, who can support with appropriate help and advice, including onward referral to specialist services. Where a case has been referred to our Social Protection section, Dublin City Council social workers will remain in close
contacts with these services in order to support families with complex needs whose tenancies are in jeopardy.
184.108.40.206 Vexatious Complainants
In a small minority of cases a complaint may turn out to be vexatious or malicious. If we believe there is an abuse of process we will refuse to investigate further complaints unless there is corroboration.
6.4.2 PHASE TWO: CATEGORISING COMPLAINTS
Complaints received will initially be categorised Levels 1 – 3 by the assigned officer. The primary purpose of categorising is for reporting and monitoring but additionally to inform the scope of the investigation and response to the complaint. The categorisation of a complaint may change following investigation.
220.127.116.11 LEVEL 1: Low Level Anti – Social Behaviour and/or First Complaints
A categorisation of this level refers to an incident that may be resolved without resorting to a formal process. However, the designated officer must consider the nature, scale and history of reported anti-social behaviour in categorising the complaint.
Where there are persistent behaviours/incidents (more than 2 complaints not relating to the same incident) or where the nature of the breach is more serious this may warrant a Level 2 categorisation.
Indicative breaches of tenancy, which depending on scale and frequency, may fall into Level 1 category include:
Animal Nuisance including dog fouling
Vehicle Nuisance including non-authorised parking of vehicles
Garden Nuisance (e.g. overgrown or waste in garden)
Misuse of Common Area
Complaints about designated spaces
Use of Balcony
Noise that is significant and persistent and affects more than 1 other tenant.
Any other behaviour that does not fall into the legal definition of Anti-Social Behaviour but is a breach of tenancy.
18.104.22.168 LEVEL 2: Serious Anti -Social Behaviour (and/or Persistent Breaches of Tenancy not Resolved by Level 1)
This categorisation should be assigned to all incidents that relate to violence, threats and intimidation, repeated breaches of tenancy, persistent or serious impairment of neighbours’ enjoyment of their homes, damage to property, racism or harassment on any of the nine equality grounds (gender, marital status, family status, age disability, sexual orientation, race, religion, and membership of the Traveller community), obstruction of local authority officials or contractors or any other such agency carrying out work with the permission of the Council.
22.214.171.124 LEVEL 3: Serious Anti-Social Behaviour Drug-Related
A Level 3 complaint includes any alleged act or behaviour, where the anti-social behaviour relates to the manufacture, production, preparation, importation, exportation, sale, supply, possession for the purposes of sale or supply or distribution of a controlled drug (within the meaning of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 – 2007), any serious threats or intimidation, where there is suspected involvement in organised crime or where any part of the allegation involves the use of weapons will be categorised as a Level 3 complaint.
6.4.3 PHASE THREE: INVESTIGATING THE COMPLAINT
Dublin City Council will carry out such investigation as it considers necessary to establish if there is a reasonable basis for believing that the tenant or person against who the complaint has been made is engaging or has engaged in the behaviour complained of. We will have regard to balancing the concerns of the complainant against the respondent’s right to a fair investigation.
126.96.36.199 Designated Officer
A staff member in the area office will be assigned responsibility for opening the case and managing the process of the investigation. The categorisation of the complaint will determine the next steps in the process. They will gather evidence from a variety of relevant sources to inform the process.
188.8.131.52 Information Requests
In the case of serious Anti-Social Behaviour, such as drugs, violence, threats, etc., information will have been requested in writing from An Garda Síochána prior to interview. Details of information provided by the Gardaí and other relevant agencies will be kept on record.
184.108.40.206 Invite to Interview
If there is a reasonable basis for believing that the tenant or person may be engaging in the alleged behaviour, and that such behaviour is a matter for the local authority, Dublin City Council will inform the tenant of the complaint and request the tenant (the respondent) and the member of their household to attend for interview, to allow them an opportunity to respond.
220.127.116.11 Interview No-Show
If a respondent does not respond to the invitation for interview, the complaint will be upheld if the investigating officer has reasonable grounds for believing the respondent is involved in anti-social behaviour or has breached their tenancy agreement.
18.104.22.168 Interview Process
The respondent may be accompanied at any interview by an assistant or adviser or family member. In the event of disability or language difficulty appropriate facilities will be provided on request. Third parties and representatives may make submissions and representations in writing in relation to any respondent.
At interview, the respondent is informed of the possible consequences should Dublin City Council
form the belief that there is substance to the complaints of Anti-Social Behaviour3.
The respondent may submit any rebutting material or information, and for this purpose a second interview can be arranged.
In deciding the appropriate course of action Dublin City Council will consider any
representations, submissions, documentation and observations made to it by or on behalf of the respondent, and any other relevant matters.
A written record (minute) of the respondents’ interviews are made and kept on the case files. Minutes of interviews are signed by the investigating officers conducting the interviews. Interview must not be digitally recorded by either party.
If, at the second interview, the respondent submits rebutting material then further inquiries will be carried out if warranted. They are again informed of the possible consequences should Dublin City Council form the belief that there is substance to the complaints of Anti-Social Behaviour. A written record (minute) is made of this interview and kept on the case file. Case files are treated as confidential and are stored in secure filing cabinets with restricted access. Any additional complaints received after the initial interview but before the termination of the tenancy (in the case of a tenant) will be subject to the same inquiries.
6.4.4 PHASE FOUR: DECIDING ON APPROPRIATE ACTION
Dublin City Council will have regard to the number of complaints, the seriousness or persistent nature of the anti-social behaviour complained of, the reliability of the information grounding the complaint, the response of the respondent to the complaint, representations and submissions, previous warnings, the adequacy of alternative measures, the interests of good estate management, the effects of the anti-social behaviour on others and reports from An Garda Síochána.
Having fully considered all relevant information relating to the investigation, and having consulted with their Area Housing Manager and other relevant staff, the investigating officers may conclude any one of, or a collection of, the following to be the most appropriate course of action:
22.214.171.124 No Further action
Where the complaint has not been upheld because of lack of evidence or because it is unfounded then no further action will be taken.
Referral of the complainant to An Garda Síochána if the complaint is of a criminal nature. Referral to other services such as youth services; social worker; relevant NGO’s; Tenancy Sustainment/Specialist support such as HSE addiction services, TUSLA, Mental Health Services, Elder Care.
126.96.36.199 Informing all Tenants
In cases where anti-social behaviour is widespread and/or the perpetrators cannot be identified, it can be useful to send a letter to all tenants in the complex reminding them of their obligations under their tenancy agreements.
If it is decided that mediation is the appropriate course of action in a case, then the relevant request is made to the Chief Welfare Officer. Mediation is not deemed suitable in cases of serious anti-social behaviour but may be suitable for some lower level complaints. Both parties must agree to this process.
188.8.131.52 Additional Tenant Training
This is to ensure the tenant fully understands their responsibilities.
184.108.40.206 Multi-Agency Case Meeting
The Area Housing Manager or Team Leader Social Work section will convene if appropriate.
220.127.116.11 Case Management
Ongoing check-in with support services, the respondent and/or the complainant, physical calls to the dwelling.
18.104.22.168 Further Interview
The respondent may be requested to attend for further interview in order to confirm the decision of Dublin City Council, particularly in the case where a written agreement is being entered into regarding future behaviour. The consequences of breaking the terms of the written agreement can be explained at this interview.
22.214.171.124 Warnings Prior to Tenancy Warning
If the decision is to issue a verbal, written or final warning then the respondent is informed of the consequences if further substantiated complaints of anti-social behaviour are made:
Verbal Warning – usually reserved for instances of first offences of a trivial nature
Final Written Warning Prior to the Issuing of a Tenancy Warning
126.96.36.199 Tenancy Warning
We may issue a tenancy warning to a tenant where the tenant, or a member of their household, or a visitor, has breached a specified term of the tenancy agreement. A specified term includes anti-social behaviour, nuisance or conduct likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to neighbours or a tenant knowingly permitting a person, against whom an exclusion order (reference below) is in force, to enter the dwelling specified in the order. It will require that specified actions are ceased and/or that the tenant undertakes specified actions. There are serious consequences for a tenant who has been issued with a tenancy warning.
A tenancy warning is live for a period of 12 months. Any further breaches, as outlined in the warning, may result in legal action. A tenancy warning issued to a client has additional implications (detailed in section 3: Robust Consequences for Anti-Social Behaviour) for a tenant related to housing.
Review of Tenancy Warning
Where a tenant does not accept that a breach of tenancy agreement has occurred as set out in a tenancy warning issued under section 7 and Section 9 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014, they may request in writing a review of the tenancy warning issued to them within 10 working days from the issuing of the tenancy warning. A reviewer will be appointed by the Chief Executive who was not involved in the decision to issue a tenancy warning and who is senior in rank to the officer or employee who made the original decision.
188.8.131.52 Dwelling surrendered – in lieu of Legal Action
In such cases, the housing officer must be satisfied that the applicant is not going to be homeless, has undertaken repayment of any outstanding rent arrears and understands the implications for future rehousing.
184.108.40.206 Estate Management Transfer
In exceptional circumstances, taking into account reports from An Garda Síochána, a transfer on estate management grounds may be considered in cases where there is no gain or improvement afforded to the alleged perpetrator and where there is a compelling rationale supporting the potential abatement effect of a transfer. The rent arrears policy as regards transfers will apply. Where a transfer is made, where possible, consideration will be given to the location of support services or other services the person or members of their family are linked into.
220.127.116.11 Removal of Illegal Occupiers
Where a person squats in a Dublin City Council dwelling and is or has engaged in Anti-Social Behaviour and refuses to leave when requested to do so, it is the policy of the Council to formally request An Garda Síochána to instruct that person to leave the dwelling. This does not require a court order as there is no tenancy in place. Where the person fails to comply with the instruction of the Gardaí, that person can be arrested by the Gardaí without warrant. This is in accordance with section 20 of the 1997 Act as amended. This provision does not apply to a tenant or person who has failed to vacate the dwelling following the service of a Tenancy Warning.
6.4.5 PHASE FIVE – LEGAL ACTION
Where there has been serious or persistent anti-social behaviour and/or a further breach following a tenancy warning, Dublin City Council may pursue a legal remedy as set out below.
In cases of significant anti-social behaviour, in exceptional cases, a tenancy warning may be bypassed and legal recourse will be applied for directly.
18.104.22.168 Legal Action – Apply to Courts for Exclusion Order
An exclusion order may be applied for which will exclude a person, who has been found to be acting in an anti-social way in the area, from a specific house or from the vicinity of a house. This can be a member of the household or an associate of the tenant. This must be applied for through the courts. This can be applied for either by Dublin City Council or the tenant of the property in question.
The application is made to the District Court and they will decide on the merits of the case. If the application is refused then the case will be reconsidered as to the appropriate course of action to be taken.
An excluding order may relate to a specified dwelling, area or estate. An Exclusion Order provides for either the removal or attachment of conditions where a member of the household is engaged in serious and persistent anti-social behaviour. The excluding order provisions apply to standard tenancy dwellings; relevant purchaser dwellings(including house tenant purchase, apartment, tenant purchase and incremental purchase) and Traveller sites.
22.214.171.124 Legal Action – Apply to Courts for Possession Order
If the behaviour detailed in the Tenancy Warning continues within 12 months of the issue of a Tenancy Warning, Dublin City Council will make a Possession Application to the District Court detailing the grounds on which the application is being made and may include information on oath by an official. In exceptional circumstances, where anti-social behaviour is of a significantly alarming nature, Dublin City Council can move directly to apply for possession, without issuing a tenancy warning.
The District Court will decide if a Possession Order is to be granted or may grant an Excluding Order, if relevant, instead.
In considering an application the Court will take into account the steps taken by the Local Authority, the response of the tenant, the effects of the behaviour on the quality of life of those in the locality of the dwelling and the proportionality of making a possession order, having regard to the grounds set out.
6.4.6 PHASE SIX – CLOSING THE CASE WHERE POSSESSION GRANTED
The Council lodges the warrant in the District Court office for signing by the judge. When the warrant is signed and taken up from the court the Council lodges it with the City Sheriff who provides a date for enforcement of the possession order. The eviction must take place within 28 days of the signing of the warrant.
The Council informs the respondent in writing of the date of the pending eviction and will answer any queries they may have.
The respondent is given the opportunity of surrendering prior to the eviction date if they so wish.
The eviction is carried out (warrant is executed) by the office of the City Sheriff with Council staff in attendance.
6.5. INVESTING IN OUR ESTATE MANAGEMENT CAPACITY AND
Good Estate management requires integrated working across sections. The coordination of the strategy in relation to anti-social behaviour in the Council has recently been supplemented by identifying a Senior Executive Officer (SEO) to the post. The SEO will have responsibility of oversight on the delivery of the specified actions in this strategy.
126.96.36.199 Coordination of Internal Services to Support the strategy
In order to determine progress and priority actions for tackling anti-social behaviour, in particular where cases are moving towards the more consequential sanctions, the Central office meets with all area managers on a monthly basis to progress cases.
Updates on progress with all serious cases, including excluding order and eviction, are submitted as well as relevant statistics. Discussion on all aspects of Anti-Social Behaviour is facilitated at these meetings where proposals and agreed actions are recorded and minuted. These meetings are chaired by the Senior Executive Officer. While the Area Housing Managers are decision makers with regard to appropriate action in anti-social behaviour cases within their respective areas, including legal action, it is important to have an overall and consistent application of sanctions across areas, and for each area to cross-fertilise on ideas and best practice in terms of tacking anti-social behaviour and managing complex cases. The Central
office will provide oversight and advice in this regard.
The Allocations Section, Maintenance, Housing Supply, Community and Integration, Training (HR) and Health and Safety will be periodically invited to attend these meetings, contributing to pro-active responses and presenting on particular areas of concern that cross over with anti-social behaviour and good estate management.
188.8.131.52 Specific Responsibilities with regard to Anti-Social Behaviour Management
The main services within Dublin City Council that have a role in dealing with issues of AntiSocial Behaviour are:
- Area office staff are responsible for handling complaints, conducting interviews, gathering evidence relating to breaches of tenancy;
- The central anti-social behaviour unit acts as an expert resource to staff and is
responsible for the serving of Tenancy Warnings and application for Possession Orders where a Tenancy Warning has been breached. Where there is a known risk to Area staff the central unit will offer additional support;
- The Law Department supports the preparation of cases for court applications and any ensuing appeals;
- Many other sections support the work through estate improvements, social work
interventions, enforcement of waste regulations, community development and diversion programmes.
184.108.40.206 Central Serious Anti-Social Behaviour Support Unit
As noted above, the central unit provides a specialised service, dealing specifically with cases where legal proceedings may be applied and/or where, for reasons of staff safety and security, it is considered more appropriate to separate the investigation from the local area.
The responsibility to delegate the investigation to the central unit will be made by the Area Manager. The responsibilities of the Central Unit are:
To review submissions prior to the issuing of a tenancy warning;
to interview respondents in serious cases when requested to do so by the local Area Housing Office, particularly when a tenancy warning or excluding order is being
to terminate tenancies by serving Tenancy Warnings and Possession Orders;
to process tenancy warning cases, from the serving of the notice to the close of the case;
to give evidence in court in regard to terminated tenancies;
to process excluding order cases, from the consultation with the respondent to the
close of the case;
to give evidence in court regarding excluding order cases;
to collate and manage statistics;
to liaise with the Law Dept.;
to liaise closely with the local Area Housing Offices where most complaints are made, and from where investigations are initiated;
to liaise with all other relevant sections;
to meet with outside agencies, such as the HSE, An Garda Siochana, Tenancy
Sustainment Agency, housing agencies, and other local authorities as and when
to assist in training courses and to provide ongoing training to staff involved in anti-social behaviour issues;
to monitor changes in legislation and to keep policies and procedures up to date
to oversee the carrying out of evictions.
220.127.116.11 Building Staff Competence
Staff in Area Housing Officers will receive ongoing training to develop consistent and confident practice in good estate management and in the investigation of complaints. As part of this strategy, a review of training needs will be carried out as well as an assessment of quality training options available either in person or online. Training will include and understanding of the legal process as well as other complementary training, identified as part of this review.
18.104.22.168 Pilots and Best Practice & Resourcing what Works
One of the expectations of the strategy, as laid out in the Housing Miscellaneous Act, 2009, is that local authorities will carrying out research into anti-social behaviour and its prevention and reduction. We are committed to investing in what works. We will identify a number of pilot projects that are occurring over the lifetime of this strategy and invest in research into one of these pilots, in terms of its impact on preventing and/or reducing anti-social behaviour and promoting pro-social behaviour. There are currently three interesting initiatives taking place that could offer an opportunity for such an investment including the Local Community Safety Partnership in the North East Inner City, the work on the Inclusion Strategy by Dublin City Council, with respect to further enhancement of and engagement in preventative measures
around anti-social behaviour targeted at minority ethnic people, and a pilot initiative that will take place as part of this strategy to enhance tenancy support to people residing in our Older Persons complexes or any other person who is elderly and presenting with support needs related to sustaining their tenancy.
7. PRIORITIES IN ACTION
7.1 Proactive Estate Management: Prevention and Early Intervention
Dublin City Council is committed to good estate management through proactively managing the initial stages of developments, tenancy allocations, coordination within and between sections with respect to delivering safer neighbourhoods.
7.2 Working In Partnership: Building Key Relationships
Dublin City Council is committed to working in partnership in order to seek the best possible outcomes for solutions and resolutions regarding preventing and tackling the causes and consequences of anti-social behaviour.
7.3 Enforcement of Robust Consequences for Anti-Social Behaviour
Dublin City Council is committed to clearly communicating with all tenants on their obligations as tenants and the consequences of not meeting these obligations. In this way, all tenants are clear that we take issues of anti-social behaviour seriously.
7.4 Effective Complaints Response: Investigation of Complaints & Associated Action
Dublin City Council is committed to taking every complaint seriously, to following up with all complaints, to providing a complaints and investigation processes that is respectful of confidentially, robust, fair and impartial, and with associated actions are proportionate to the findings.
7.5 Investing in Delivery of our Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy
Dublin City Council is committed to making our responses and actions in relation to tackling Anti-social behaviour a clear priority. We are committed to a learning culture of continuous improvement and commitment to best practice.
Arbour Hill, Ballybough, Broadstone, Church Street, City Centre, Clonliffe Road, Constitution Hill, Drumcondra, Dublin City Council, East Wall, Fine Gael, Grangegorman, Housing, Montpelier, North Circular Road, North Strand, North Wall, Policing, Quays, Rathdown Road, Sean McDermott Street, Smithfield, Stoneybatter
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee