Eviction process too slow, say politicians
The increase in anti-social behaviour in social housing in Cork has led some residents feeling like victims in their own homes.
Following on from reports that over 227 anti-social behaviour interviews had to be conducted by Cork City Council staff in the past 18 months, Labour TD for Cork South Central Ciarán Lynch has suggested that one year tenancies could form part of the solution.
“These are the kind of crimes that don't make the national headlines, but that have a serious impact on communities at local level,” said Deputy Lynch.
“Vandalism, loutish behaviour and drunkenness can leave many people terrified and isolated, and communities are crying out for action to be taken. Councils already have the power to evict tenants in instances of anti-social behaviour, but the process can be long-drawn-out and cumbersome.”
“Local councils should be given the authority to offer provisional one-year tenancies to prospective tenants, which would give them the authority to terminate a tenancy in the event of anti-social behaviour.”
Deputy Lynch also stressed that he intends to address the issue once the Oireachtas reconvenes.
“Anti-social behaviour is a complex problem, and it can only be tackled on a multi-faceted basis,” said the Labour TD.
“Gardaí, the schooling system and the local community all have their part to play, but we cannot expect local councils and other housing authorities to make a significant contribution if they have one hand tied behind their back.”
However, one opposition councillor, and a victim of anti-social and threatening behaviour himself, Sinn Féin’s Chris O’Leary, insists local authorities are not doing enough.
“The local authority doesn’t act and it needs to act very quickly,” said Cllr O’Leary.
“If you are in private rented accommodation then you have a short term contract of usually a year. Why can’t we have three month contacts, renewed over the course of a year, on people who have past behaviour or suspicions on them regarding anti-social behaviour?”
Cllr O’Leary stressed that people can turn corners from their past behaviour, because of drink or drugs or other factors, but that the current format of keys just being handed over cannot continue.
“I’m not saying bar people from housing but nobody should be enforcing people to live next door neighbours from hell, especially when there is someone who has control over that.”
Cllr O’Leary urged people who suffer from anti-social behaviour to come forward and acknowledge the behaviour, either to a local councilor or to the gardaí.
“If you don’t address the issue, then it can be prolonged for years,” said the Sinn Féin leader in City Hall, who has suffered from intimating behaviour in the past.
“I would advise people to keep logs of the threatening and anti-social behaviour, that way it is a case that everyone, including the gardaí can stand over. It’s about the quality of life for people.”
Cllr O’Leary highlighted that often it is a multitude of small things that can make life unbearable in accommodation for people.
"The big challenge is to get people to come forward as people fear being victimized more if their name is revealed, which actually makes them even more of a victim.”