June 22, 2022 3.30 pm

Lincoln council tenants fear local “thug” but are scared to complain

No official complaints means council can’t take action

A senior Lincoln councillor is calling for more to be done to tackle antisocial council housing tenants, as some residents in his ward feared a local “thug” who went to prison for stabbing a woman.

Conservative Councillor Edmund Strengiel said he had three elderly disabled people in different houses in Birchwood who were “being intimidated” by the man, but were unwilling to report him officially due to concerns over repercussions.

“I can say he was a thug, he was in prison because he stabbed a woman in the back,” he said.

“Unless they actually hold their hands up, which they are afraid to do because of possible of intimidation, there’s nothing the council can do from a legal or housing point of view.”

Despite assurances of anonymity, he said he had been unable to convince the residents to make official reports.

Councillor Strengiel said the current policy was archaic and needed to be updated to do more to protect tenants suffering from anti-social behaviour.

“We need to look and see if we can improve this situation for people who are terribly and mortally afraid of the repercussions in coming to you.”

He said there were lines in the tenancy agreements about not intimidating neighbours and respecting property, but added “yet we allow this to carry on, it’s not right”.

The meeting of the City of Lincoln Full Council on Tuesday night. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Councillors were generally supportive of the member’s arguments, with Labour’s Councillor Murray saying people were “sometimes” getting away with anti-social or criminal behaviour.

He said it was a “challenge” for the authority’s bosses but added: “It would be nice if we could come up with some way of helping people who are victims of ongoing anti-social behaviour.”

Labour council leader Councillor Ric Metcalfe said robust action was needed, but said there was a need for evidence.

“We have to satisfy the courts if we are are to take effective action to take people’s tenancy away from them.

“It’s the evidential requirement in court that means we have to get proper evidence, so we can successfully take that tenancy away.”

Housing portfolio holder Councillor Donald Nannestad said there were “issues in different parts of the city”.

“There is an issue in gathering evidence which can be used in court. We do our best to deal with antisocial behaviour.

“We have people who feel frightened for a variety of reasons and we have to make sure they feel safe.”