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Antisocial Behaviour Management and Housing Simon Y. Yau Department of Public and Social Administration City University of Hong Kong Public The.

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Presentation on theme: "Antisocial Behaviour Management and Housing Simon Y. Yau Department of Public and Social Administration City University of Hong Kong Public The."— Presentation transcript:

1 Antisocial Behaviour Management and Housing Simon Y. Yau Department of Public and Social Administration City University of Hong Kong Public The University of Adelaide 15 February 2012

2 Outline of the Presentation Overview of antisocial behaviour and its control definitions, classifications and causes control or mitigation measures Control of ASB in public housing in Hong Kong introduction of the Marking Scheme does the Marking Scheme work? flaws or social impacts of the marking scheme ASB in Hong Kongs private housing insignificant or ignored? Future directions for ASB research and policy-making 2

3 3 Part A Overview of Antisocial Behaviour and its Control in Housing

4 4 Definitions of Antisocial Behaviour Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is behaviour that opposes society's norms and accepted standards of behaviour. include criminal acts and less serious nuisance such as dumping rubbish (Chartered Institute of Housing, 1995: 3) …the problem is a direct result of behaviour by one household or individuals in an area which threatens the physical or mental health, safety or security of other households and individuals. (Scottish Affairs Committee, 1996) ASB is behaviour that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as the perpetrator. (1998 Crime and Disorder Act)

5 5 Social Exclusion Unit Home Office White Paper Home Offices One Day Count Noise Conflicts (including harassment and domestic violence) Litter and rubbish dumping Graffiti and vandalism Uncontrolled pets Using and selling drugs Nuisance from vehicles Unkempt gardens Harassment and intimidating behaviour Behaviour that creates alarm or fear Noisy neighbours Drunken and abusive behaviour Vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property Dumping rubbish or litter Litter / rubbish Criminal damage / vandalism Vehicle related nuisance Nuisance behaviour Intimidation / harassment Noise Rowdy behaviour Abandoned vehicles Street drinking and begging Definitions of Antisocial Behaviour (contd)

6 6 ASB is a confusing term never straight-forward to have an precise definition different parties (e.g. residents, politicians and housing managers) use the term for their own purpose ASB is also named as problem of disruptive tenants or residents in Australia quality-of-life crime or problem in the US misdeed in Hong Kong incivilities, social disorder, neighbourhood nuisances …… etc. ASB takes different forms with varying levels of intensity

7 7 ASB as a Spectrum Category of BehaviourActual Behaviour Extreme behaviourDrug dealing, unprovoked assault, serious harassment, racial harassment Serious anti-social behaviour Threatening abuse, serious disturbance, vandalism, damage to property Other nuisance caseFamily disputes affecting others, dog control, behaviour of children Type of problemNature of Problem NeighbourDisputes from nuisance (e.g. noise) NeighbourhoodIncivilities within public spaces (e.g. rubbish) CrimeAll forms of criminal activities (Source: Chartered Institute of Housing, 1996: 4) (Source: Scott & Parkey, 1998: 329)

8 ASB Classes under Three-Strike Policy in WA 8 Dangerous BehaviourSerious BehaviourMinor Behaviour Assault and acts of violence toward neighbours Arson Manufacture of drugs Stalking Extensive, deliberate damage to property other than the rented premises Aggressive and threatening acts Abusive language directed at neighbours Vandalism to neighbours properties Drunken behaviour which impacts on other residents Car burnouts Dangerous driving Hoon behaviour Nuisance from children Excessive noise Property condition that impacts on neighbours Unwanted entry into neighbouring properties Domestic disputes which cause disturbance to neighbours

9 9 Perceived Causes of ASB in the UK Which one or two of these do you think are the main causes of ASB by youth today? % Parents not bringing up their children appropriately53 Drug and alcohol abuse49 Lack of discipline in schools28 Not enough for teenagers to do27 Peer pressure16 Break-up of marriages14 Others1 (Source: Ipsos Mori, 2006) N = 2,048

10 10 Perceived Causes of ASB in Hong Kong Do you think that the following cause the neighbourhood problems in public housing? Mean score Poor parenting3.85 Poor discipline at school3.83 Ineffective policing3.76 Boredom3.51 Mental illness or disorder3.40 Unemployment3.24 Alcohol or drugs2.51 (Source: Yau, 2011) N = 339

11 11 Common Measures to Control ASB in Housing Legal measures ASB orders or injunction orders parenting orders Tenancy measures lease termination or non-renewal of leases introductory, probationary or fixed-term tenancies acceptable behaviour contract or agreement Mediating or intervention measures mediation or neighbourhood wardens close monitoring or intervention unit (e.g. in WA) multi-agency approaches

12 12 Common Measures to Control ASB in Housing (contd) Tenant incentive schemes paint kits or garden subsidies (e.g. in NT and WA) priority response to repair order or rental concession recognition and rewards scheme (in SA) ??

13 13 Part B Control of ASB in Public Housing in Hong Kong

14 Control of Anti-social Behaviour in Hong Kong ASB is a term never used by the Hong Kong Government Piece-meal controls over different ASB in the city: 14 ASBControl Creating noise nuisanceNoise Control Ordinance Deliberate litteringFixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness Offences) Ordinance Objects dropped from heightSummary Offences Ordinance DrunkennessSummary Offences Ordinance Graffiti and vandalismSummary Offences Ordinance

15 15 Opportunistic Start of ASB Control in Housing As an aftermath of the SARS outbreak in 2003 Team Clean set up on 5 May 2003 stringent enforcement of spitting and littering in public areas raising fixed penalty for spitting and littering from $600 to $1,500 inspection of external drainage pipes in all residential buildings clean-up of hygiene blackspots terminating the leases of and evicting public housing tenants who repeatedly breach the health code The Subsidized Housing Committee of the Housing Authority (HA) endorsed at its meeting on 29 May 2003 to strengthen action through the introduction of a marking scheme for tenancy enforcement in public housing

16 16 Introduction of the Marking Scheme Marking Scheme for Tenancy Enforcement implemented since 1 August 2003 by the Housing Department in public rental housing (PRH) and interim housing (IH) renamed to the Marking Scheme for Estate Management Enforcement in Public Housing Estates on 18 October 2006 to signify its wider use for more effective estate management Stated objectives of the marking scheme to promote environmental hygiene and management of public housing estates to build up a sustained healthy and pleasant living environment

17 17 Operation of the Marking Scheme Leasing conditions public housing tenants should keep the leased premises and the estate environment clean and hygienic tenants should not interfere life enjoyment of other tenants Marking Scheme for Tenancy Enforcement tenancy terminated when 16 points recorded within 2 years if tenancy is terminated, the households will be barred from applying for PRH through General Waiting List for two years 5 pts 1 Jan 055 Jan 0617 Aug 061 Jan pts

18 18 Operation of the Marking Scheme (contd) Other effect on the household any household carrying valid penalty points to be barred from applying for alternative accommodation, better/larger or otherwise, through external or internal transfer (except those affected by governments relocation actions) As at 31 January 2012, there were 28 misdeed items grouped under Category A, B, C or D Category A - minor misdeeds carrying 3 points Categories B and C -more serious ones carrying 5 and 7 points respectively Category D - the most serious one carrying 15 points

19 19 Misdeeds (with prior warning before point allotment) Misdeeds where warnings will be given before allotment of pointsPoints 1. Drying clothes in public areas (except in areas designated by the HD)3 2. Utilizing laundry pole-holders for drying floor mop3 3. Putting dripping flower pots or dripping laundry on balconies3 4. Dripping oil from exhaust fan3 5. Obstructing corridors or stairs with sundry items rendering cleansing difficult5 6. Causing mosquito breeding by accumulating stagnant water5 7. Causing noise nuisance5 8. Water dripping from air-conditioner5 9. Denying the entry of HD staff for repairs which are the responsibility of the HD7 10.Refusing to repair leaking pipes or sanitary fittings for which the tenant is responsible7 11.Damaging sewage pipes causing leakage to the flat below7 12. Accumulating a large quantity of refuse or waste inside leased premises, creating offensive smell and hygienic nuisance 7

20 20 Misdeeds (no prior warning before point allotment) Misdeeds where points will be allotted immediatelyPoints 1.Littering5 2. Disposing of domestic refuse indiscriminately, such as improper disposal in lift lobbies or inside bins without cover 5 3. Keeping animal, bird or livestock inside leased premises without prior written consent of the Landlord 5 4. Allowing animal and livestock under charge to foul public places with faeces 5 5.Boiling wax in public areas5 6.Smoking or carrying a lighted cigarette in estate common area5 7.Illegal gambling in public places5 8. Throwing objects from heights that jeopardize environmental hygiene 7

21 21 Misdeeds (no prior warning before point allotment) Misdeeds where points will be allotted immediatelyPoints 9. Spitting in public areas Urinating and defecating in public places 7 11 Dumping or disposing of decoration debris indiscriminately at refuse collection points, within building or in other public areas Using leased premises as food factory or storage Illegal hawking of cooked food Damaging or stealing Housing Authority's property Using leased premises for illegal purpose Throwing objects from height that may cause danger or personal injury 15

22 22 Figures about the Marking Scheme (up to Dec 2011) 17,990 allotments of penalty points involving 16,410 households (2.3% of public housing households) 1,030 households accrued 10 points or more Most frequently committed misdeeds smoking in estate common area (6,160 cases) littering (5,720 cases) 46 households receiving 16 or more points 2 surrendering their PRH flats voluntarily 34 Notices-to-quit (NTQs) issued with 10 cases withdrawn on special grounds (Source: Hong Kong Housing Authority)

23 Is the Marking Scheme Effective? 23 Improvement in Strongly Agree AgreeNeutralDisagree Strongly disagree Environmental cleanliness 18.0%39.8%30.7%7.7%3.8% Quietness2.9%30.1%40.1%23.0%3.8% Conditions of facilities4.4%20.1%41.9%26.0%7.7% Personal safety and security 6.2%24.2%41.6%23.9%4.1% Overall quality of the living environment 7.4%30.1%39.2%18.3%5.0% (Source: Yau, 2012) N = 339

24 Flaws and Social Impacts (1) Household as a subject unit of the marking scheme one of the members commits wrongdoings and other members of the family are punished as well i.e., collateral punishment or sanction by association contradicting with the principle of welfare contractualism 40.4% of the respondents (in Yau, 2012) regarded household- based punishment unfair 59.6% thought that family harmony has been undermined because of the marking scheme (due to culture of blame) 24 Think Point: Should a resident be responsible for the activities of his or her family member in public housing?

25 Flaws and Social Impacts (2) Tenure-biased or selective enforcement against ASB public rental housing tenants being the only subject 46.9% of the respondents (in Yau, 2012) opined that the marking scheme has stereotyped public housing tenants as problematic residents Enforcement against ASB being location-specific penalty points will be allotted only if the misdeed is committed in the housing estate where the perpetrator is living 25 Think Point: If the marking scheme aims to rectify bad habits of the residents, why bother discriminating the enforcement?

26 26 Mutual surveillance among neighbours 54.9% perceived a greater tension among residents after the implementation of the scheme Eviction helps victims but not perpetrators fostering a culture of not in my backyard (NIMBY) beyond the capacity of the HKHA to change behaviour (e.g. creating nuisance due to mental illness) 35.7% of the respondents (in Yau, 2012) worried that someone could abuse the marking scheme to pick on them social exclusion of minority or disadvantaged groups 50.7% became more afraid of being evicted because of weakened tenure security Flaws and Social Impacts (3)

27 27 Flaws and Social Impacts (4) No prior comprehensive public or tenant consultation consulting Estate Management Advisory Committee only 34.5% thought that they had not been well consulted before the implementation of the marking scheme Do all the items under the marking scheme are socially undesirable? e.g. pet guardianship at home? misdeeds that are not necessary to be included (Yau, 2012) obstructing corridors or stairs with sundry items keeping animal inside leased premises without consent water dripping from air-conditioner

28 28 Flaws and Social Impacts (5) Whose responsibility in case of design flaw? drying clothes in public areas no balcony or utility platform damaging sewage pipes causing leakage to the flat below drain stack running in the flat (not on the external wall) Waste stack

29 29 Part C ASB in Hong Kongs Private Housing (an ongoing study)

30 No ASB in Private Housing ? 30

31 31

32 Perceived Seriousness of ASB 32 Private Housing (n=287)Public Housing (n=339) Noise nuisances3.72Litter3.62 Litter3.68Illegal gambling3.48 Pipe leakage or seepage3.57Noise nuisances3.46 Abusive use of communal space or facilities 3.53Objects thrown from height3.41 Objects thrown from height3.41Uncontrolled dogs3.40 Vandalism or graffiti3.28Passive smoking3.31 Illegal dealings3.21Waste accumulation3.18 Uncontrolled dogs3.18Vandalism or graffiti3.16 (Sources: Yau, 2012; an ongoing study)

33 Perceived Causes of ASB 33 Private Housing (n=287)Public Housing (n=339) Ineffective policy or management 3.92Poor parenting3.85 Poor parenting3.78Poor discipline at school3.83 Mental illness or disorder3.63Ineffective policy or management 3.76 Poor discipline at school3.58Boredom3.51 Boredom3.31Mental illness or disorder3.40 Unemployment2.75Unemployment3.24 Alcohol or drugs2.38Alcohol or drugs2.51 (Sources: Yau, 2011; an ongoing study)

34 Determinants of intolerance with ASB 34 Private Housing (n=287)Public Housing (n=339) Male Female Middle age (31-50 years old)Younger Better-educated Middle-incomeno effect Shorter length of residenceno effect Dissatisfied with housing quality no effectSmall family size Locally born or grew up Living in high-rise housingnot investigated (Sources: Yau, 2011; an ongoing study)

35 Unhelpful Housing Management Agents For those who have lodged complaints against ASB to the property management company or residents association 67% opined that the agent could help them to solve the nuisance that affect many owners in the building 22% opined that the agent could help them to solve the nuisance that affect the complainant only 35 Perpetrator Complainant Residents Association / Property Manager Managing Electing or Appointing

36 Control of ASB in Private Housing Powerful sanction e.g. eviction considered in few cases only e.g. rental housing estate solely owned by one single landlord owner-occupiers under no threat of eviction In most private multi-owned housing, ASB control relies on enforcement of deed of mutual covenant or house rules specific ordinances e.g. Noise Control Ordinance statutory injunction order tort law (claiming for damages only) 36 Think Point: Is private property right always a hurdle for ASB control in private housing? What else can we do in private housing?

37 37 Part D Future Directions for ASB Research and Policy-Making

38 A New Perspective into ASB Research ? Anatomy of social problems and associated policies social constructionism/constructivism, path dependency … etc. how about using new institutional economics? Common assumptions of neoclassical theories property rights being clearly defined cost of enforcement (e.g. court proceedings) being negligible Transaction costs incurred in different stages of control contract writing – defining the rights and ASB bargaining– reaching acceptable agreement policing– checking for ASB enforcement – punishing perpetrator 38

39 Example 1: Noise Nuisances Why noise nuisances are so difficult to deal with? right to silence? or right to make sounds? what is or constitutes a noise? barking dog? crying baby? standard of silence? 45dB? 60dB? costs of policing and enforcement disproportionately high noises can be discontinuous and spontaneous how can you take the evidence of the nuisance? High contracting, policing and enforcement costs prevalence of the noise problem 39

40 Example 2: Good Resident Agreement What is a good resident? what are acts that a good resident should not do? can all these acts listed in the agreement exhaustively? is there a universal agreement applicable to all communities? Definition of ASB can be community-specific e.g. playing firecrackers considered a dangerous and annoying act in high-rise housing welcomed by villagers because it is a traditional custom How to be agreed by a large group of people? 40

41 Reducing Transaction Costs in ASB Control Maintaining a pleasant and comfortable living environment a matter of collectivism proper behaviour of one household is not enough ! Cooperation is more likely if there is strong social norm, community cohesiveness, place attachment,... etc. ethical or norm-oriented behaviour reducing transaction costs Community- or neighbourliness-building strategies community-building projects in public housing in Hong Kong Good Neighbour Award in Singapore any examples in Australia ? 41 New South Wales

42 An old Chinese saying: Good neighbours are more helpful than distant relatives. -- Our neighbours can offer timely help when we are in need while distant relatives may not be able to offer immediate assistance. 42

43 43 References Chartered Institute of Housing (1995) Housing and Crime, How Well Are We Managing, Edinburgh: Chartered Institute of Housing. Chartered Institute of Housing (1996) Housing and Anti-social Behaviour, Coventry: Chartered Institute of Housing. Ipsos MORI (2006) Public attitudes to parenting, Scott, S. & Parkey, H. (1998) Myths and reality: anti-social behaviour in Scotland, Housing Studies, 13(3): Scottish Government Social Research (2007) Use of anti-social behaviour orders in Scotland, pdf. pdf Yau, Y. (2011) Ruling out trouble: unacceptable behaviour and its control in Hong Kongs public housing, Habitat International, 36(1): Yau, Y. (2012) Social impacts of the marking scheme in public housing in Hong Kong, Social Indicators Research, forthcoming.

44 44 Thank You ! For comments and questions, please me at

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