BOURNEMOUTH’S nightmare neighbours are taking much-needed housing stock out of the market for years as courts grant closure orders.

The orders, which are made as a last resort when other options fail, close a property for three months.

Over the course of 2018, more than seven properties in Bournemouth were subjected to closure orders, with a total closure time of more than a year. Most of the properties closed are council-owned, meaning they are taken out of circulation for the duration of the order.

At the end of the order, those evicted can return. More than 4,000 households are currently on Bournemouth’s housing register.

Matthew King, the council’s enforcement and anti-social behaviour manager, said: “At the end of the closure period, occupants can return to their property, or an extension can be applied for if evidence suggests that unacceptable behaviour will re-occur.

“However, the initial three months gives the community the necessary respite from disturbance and often breaks the cycle, particularly where drugs are involved.

“Individuals responsible for the behaviour are often dealt with in conjunction with the closure of a property. That might be through injunctions or community protection notices. These remain in force for longer periods of time.”

Before a closure is sought, individual sanctions are “considered and often implemented”, Mr King said.

“Closures are usually necessary where visitors or guests and the occupant themselves are behaving in an unacceptable manner,” he said.

“It is quite simple to identify and deal with the occupant, but more challenging with visitors, who may actually be the primary cause of the disturbance.”

Seamus Doran, tenancy services manager, said: “Although the property is closed, it is not available for letting to a new tenant.

“During this time, we may also decide to commence possession proceedings.

“This is a lengthy process and without a closure order neighbours can continue to be impacted by any anti-social behaviour that occurs.

“Closure orders can also be obtained where the tenant is allowed to return to the property but not anyone else.”