Actions for possession of owneroccupied properties fell by 10.5 per cent from 1996 to 2000, and in the private rented sector by 4.3 per cent. But in the social landlord sector (councils and housing associations) actions for possession have rocketed by 61.2 per cent. The actions affected 626,414 households.

What is going on? No separate figures are being kept for possession actions on grounds of 'anti-social behaviour', and these are lumped together as rent possession actions. In my experience of casework and research, many possession actions have been overhasty and, in some cases, totally inappropriate.

Have you had to intervene in a neighbour dispute on behalf of someone with a mental health problem or learning difficulty, behavioural, drug or alcohol problems or for any other reason which made the action unfair, harsh and overhasty?

Do you know of cases where there has been an arrestable offence in the locality with no impact on neighbours, or people punished by the courts whose landlord wants to take away their home because of that offence?

I would be grateful for any help readers can give with brief case-study summaries and views on how the anti-social behaviour legislation is being interpreted. This research will be forwarded to the relevant government departments.

Peter Hunt Legal researcher 6 Malton Street Oldham 0L8 1UB peterhunt70@hotmail. com