Redefining acceptable conduct: Using social landlords to control behaviour

 Abstract

The 1996 Housing Act brought ‘antisocial behaviour’ within the remit of housing legislation for the first time.

This legislation is directed exclusively at those living in council housing. There still remains uncertainty about the exact nature of ‘antisocial’ behaviour. This has implications for the reasons for outlawing it and for the application of this legislation. Using data from the British Crime Survey, it is argued that there is insufficient evidence of a growth in antisocial behaviour. This legislation is directed exclusively at those living in council housing. What appears to be occurring on local authority housing estates is that a combination of, among other things, high unemployment, high child densities and lack of public funding in community and associated facilities is resulting in higher rates of vandalism. The legislation, in reality, seeks to legitimise opposition to a range of previously acceptable behaviours.
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