More power given to mayors to tackle antisocial behaviour
The Dutch government has passed a new law giving mayors more power in combatting the persistent antisocial behaviour of neighbours.
According to Ockje Tellegen, a VVD member of parliament, one in three people experience problems with their neighbours, and currently there are only two methods of dealing with it.
The first, and most common, is to issue a warning, which oftentimes is considered too soft. The second, which is fairly rare, involves a long and drawn out court case, which may or may not eventually lead to eviction.
Whilst many people in the Netherlands live stacked up in apartment blocks in big cities, people in more rural areas also suffer from antisocial neighbours, Tellegen claims.
The Antisocial Law
Whether you’ve got a dog that won’t stop barking beneath you, neighbours having a house party throughout the night or hurling garbage in your garden, the so-called "Aso-Wet" (Antisocial Law) will give mayors the power to intervene by forcing a change in behaviour, or failing that, issuing a fine.
According to a video interview on NOS, a mayor will even be able to order a police officer to take away your stereo system, following repeated noise complaints.
They also have the power to, for example, order an owner to muzzle their dog or give it more attention. If you have to deal with aggressive neighbours, the mayor will also have the right to force them to undergo behavioural therapy.
Renting and antisocial behaviour
In the case of people who rent their homes out on a permanent basis or short term through Airbnb, the law gives mayors of local city councils the right to issue fines or visitor bans if too many problems are reported during their stay.
If the problem is still not solved after this second stage of mediation, then the antisocial neighbour will be evicted.
When the new law begins
The change in law will give neighbours more options in how best to tackle each and every situation.
Residents can expect the law to come into effect this summer and are encouraged to contact their council with complaints about antisocial behaviour.