'Neighbours from hell': from eviction to solving problems


Dutch statistics indicate that over half a million tenants suffer from serious anti-social behaviour from their neighbours (e.g. noise nuisance, intimidation). The most common procedure landlords use to address this anti-social behaviour is orientated towards eviction. They request a court to force the anti-social tenants to leave their home when the situation becomes unbearable for the neighbourhood. This approach is not effective, because it displaces problems and causes homelessness. Moreover, it exasperates the victims, as processing times of five years are normal.

The objective of this research project is to provide an alternative approach that enables landlords and courts to address anti-social behaviour promptly, effectively and in a proportionate manner. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the current approach, the past and existing litigations concerning anti-social behaviour will be analysed statistically with the aid of a unique and manually collected database covering 562 judgements. To date there have been no quantitative studies dealing with the approach to housing-related anti-social behaviour. Because this method is rarely used in legal research, the project will develop empirical legal scholarship and provides an opportunity to advance the understanding of the use of statistical analysis in the area of law.

To develop an alternative approach, I will conduct an analysis of the body of academic scholarship on solution-orientated justice. Solution-orientated justice embodies the notion that adjudicating cases is not the same thing as resolving them. The justice system has to provide more than fair court proceedings. It should prioritise efforts to change the behaviour of offenders; provide better support to neighbours; and improve safety in neighbourhoods.

Practitioners will be involved in the whole research process from proposal to implementation. In 2014, the proposal has been discussed in a multidisciplinary expert meeting. Furthermore, it has been discussed with over 250 practitioners in several meetings.





Prof. mr. dr. M. Vols

Verbonden aan

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid, Algemene Rechtswetenschap en Rechtsgeschiedenis


Prof. mr. dr. M. Vols, Prof. mr. dr. M. Vols