Problem neighbours get the boot

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iol news pic Netherlands Europe Weather AP A man rides his bicycle holding an umbrella as light snow covers the roads in Amsterdam. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The Hague - Amsterdammers guilty of “really unacceptable” behaviour towards their neighbours will from next year be removed from their homes and made to live together in special housing complexes, the city said on Friday.

“It happens that people are intimidated, persecuted by their neighbour and find themselves in such an unbearable situation that they decide to move,” said Tahira Limon, spokeswoman for Amsterdam's Labour mayor Eberhard van der Laan.

“That's an upside-down world,” she said.

“We feel that it is the people behind the intimidation who are really unacceptable, and not the victims who must leave their homes,” she said.

Amsterdam has around seven cases of such extremely anti-social behaviour each year from the 13,000 complaints that police receive.

“We're talking here about really extreme cases that cannot be resolved any other way,” Limon said.

The anti-social residents will be housed in shipping containers or caravans that will be placed in sparsely populated parts of town so that they can easily be monitored.

They will have to stay in the “cooling off” units for six months at most after which they can move into another “normal” home, but not in the neighbourhood they came from, said Limon.

“The aim of this project is to be able to reinsert people in society, not to isolate them for life,” she said.

“The ultimate aim is for them to go and live normally in 'traditional' housing,” she said.

The so-called “reception centres” will consist of a maximum 10

housing units, Amsterdam city hall said in a document outlining the project and seen by AFP.

The city wants to set up two such centres, one for people living alone and one for “extremely disruptive families with multiple problems”.

While evicting someone from a rented property would apparently not pose much of a legal problem, evicting someone from a property that they own may prove problematic, the city said.

Temporary reception sites will be set up in the coming weeks and permanent sites chosen during 2013. - Sapa-AFP


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