Will Social Landlords Be Forced To Act On Anti-Social Behaviour?

In December 2008 the House of Lords will hear a case which could

have significant implications for the ASB Policy of social

landlords. At present, a social landlord does not owe a duty of

care to protect their tenants from the actions of others including

other tenants.

However, in February 2008 the Court of Session in Scotland made

a decision that if approved by the House of Lords could change the

way social landlords deal with complaints of anti-social


Mr Drummond moved into a house in the Moss Park estate of

Glasgow in May 1985. In March 1986 Mr Mitchell and his family moved

into the neighbouring house. Both properties were owned by Glasgow

City Council.

Trouble began on 23 December 1994 when Mr Drummond was playing

loud music in his home. Mr Mitchell banged on the wall to

remonstrate. Mr Drummond retaliated and came to Mr Mitchell's

front door with an iron bar. Mr Drummond battered Mr Mitchell's

front door, leaving five holes. During Mr Drummond's arrest, he

shouted that Mr Mitchell was a "dead man".

Thereafter, Mr Drummond made threats at least once a month. The

Council warned Mr Drummond that he might be evicted if his

behaviour did not improve. In January 2001 and again in July 2001

Mr Drummond was charged with breaching the peace following

aggressive behaviour towards Mr Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell reported these incidents to the City Council and

expressed his concern at their lack of activity. The Council

invited Mr Drummond to a meeting which took place on 31 July 2001.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the incident in July and

the service of a Notice of Seeking Possession. Given the continuing

problems the Council advised Mr Drummond that they were considering

possession proceedings. Mr Drummond lost his temper during the

interview and became abusive. Prior to the meeting taking place the

City Council did not warn Mr Mitchell about its occurrence or

purpose, nor did they attempt to warn Mr Mitchell or the police

about Mr Drummond's behaviour following the meeting.

On leaving the meeting, Mr Drummond returned to the Moss Park

estate and he violently assaulted Mr Mitchell. Subsequently on 10

August 2001 the deceased died of his injuries.

Mr Mitchell's wife brought an action in the Scottish Court

of Session against Glasgow City Council claiming that they had

breached their duty of care to Mr Mitchell by failing to a)

instigate eviction proceedings against Mr Drummond at an earlier

stage; and b) warn Mr Mitchell about the...

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