Landlords face possibility that they may not be able to evict tenants under Human Rights Law!

by Mary Latham

15:31 PM, 11th April 2012
About 8 years ago

Landlords face possibility that they may not be able to evict tenants under Human Rights Law!

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Landlords face possibility that they may not be able to evict tenants under Human Rights Law!

I have just read a thread on Property Tribes that says Hounslow Council have been prevented so far from evicting a tenant because she is claiming that they are contravening her human rights under Article 8 of Human Rights Act 1998.

This is what Article 8 says –

Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life

  • Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence..
  • There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

I can easily see why local authorities are vulnerable to The Act but not how it might relate to a private landlord. The Human Rights Act 1998 does not apply to private individuals, or am I missing something? Particularly since a large landlords organisation are expressing concern?

Something does occur to me though, if this tenant wins using the Act against the local authority where does this leave all local authorities? I’ll bet Ben Reeve-Lewis has something to say about that? Will they need to transfer the ownership of all their stock to private individuals or companies? Is there a business opportunity here for the PRS?

Or will the Secretary of State exercise this power under Section 14.

…does not prevent the Secretary of State from exercising his power under subsection (1) F5…to make a fresh designation order in respect of the Article concerned.



Comments

Ben Reeve-Lewis

12:50 PM, 15th April 2012
About 8 years ago

You do some strange things in the Midlands for your entertainment. We only drink from the toilet bowl in London.

Yes I think this needs another thread now.

Intersting article from 2008 from Tessa Shepperson on the subject on online eviction services http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2008/07/17/tesco-law-in-action/

3:02 AM, 16th April 2012
About 8 years ago

I think more LL will go down the route of RGI irrespective of their normal and most likely previously satisfactory DD carried out on their tenant source.
This defacto means less housing benefit claimants will be able to source tenancies as LL will refuse to take this further ECHR risk; no matter how unlikely, with LL turning to private tenants.
There is not exactly a shortgage of PRS tenants who do not and are not in receipt of housing benefit.
It is generally LHA claimants that will tend to launch such spurious ECHR claims.
This is because they will receive at least 2 months LHA which they won't have to pass on and the LL will be unlikely to recover.
I must admit it seems a lot of of hassle for the LHA claimant for the relatively small amount they rob off the LL; but I suppose if you do not wiish to leave it gives you months to source another property if you can find another mg LL.

3:28 AM, 16th April 2012
About 8 years ago

Such a situation doesn't augur well for UC when it comes in.
If you have a tenant that doesn't know how much rent she has paid and the LL doesn't know how much he has been paid what hope is there!!?
Personally I issue receipts for tenants and now keep a rent book for each tenancy.
These are more for my auditing but providing receipts and I keep copies will give information in the event I need to launch a claim against a tenant.
If you don't wish to post; particularly with the cost of 2nd class increasing to 50p!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
then an email to the tenant should suffice for eachother's record keeping purposes.
To have to deal with basic financial management with 2 adults!?, must drive you round the bend!?

3:30 AM, 16th April 2012
About 8 years ago

I agree Mary I have been a victim of council housing departments 'suggestions'!

3:51 AM, 16th April 2012
About 8 years ago

Is being a LA in Sarf London less risky than being a drug dealer with the profits being about the same!
I suppose a lot of LA are ex-drug-dealers who can see the risk profile of a LA is far better than being a drug-dealer; so invest your cash into a LA and get the rozzers off your back; the only fly in the ointment being that they end up with a Ben Reevelewis on their back!!!

Ben Reeve-Lewis

13:56 PM, 16th April 2012
About 8 years ago

To kick the thread back off again I have just had word through of the case of Riverside Group Ltd v. Sharon Thomas, from last month, an Article 8 Proportionality defence to possession proceedings based on S21, which is another example of why you shouldn’t panic.
 
Both Hounslow v. Powell (which started this thread) and Manchester v. Pinnock were cited in Thomas’s defence, namely that possession on this mandatory ground was incompatible with Ms Thomas’s human rights because a: there is no defence to a S21 claim and b:Riverside are a public body, which gives rise to the defence.
 
Riverside were using ASTs as starter or probationary tenancies, which they are allowed by law to do. Ms Thomas’s behaviour had been less than good in the first few months so they decided to evict
 
Judge Ryder held “The threshold for a full consideration of a proportionality defence was only capable of being crossed in introductory tenancy cases in highly exceptional circumstances. When considering whether the threshold had been crossed, particular attention had to be paid to the public policy reasons behind the use of such tenancies. In the circumstances, the instant claim for possession was plainly one in which a possession order ought to be granted summarily since there was no proper basis to conclude that the threshold for more detailed consideration was justified. (3) There was no other power to suspend of postpone a possession order save for the limited power defined in the Housing Act 1980 s.89 (paras 42-43). (4) No issue of incompatibility arose with regard to s.21 of the 1988 Act and the meaning and effect of s.89 of the 1980 Act was clear and no issue of incompatibility arose (paras 44-45).
 
Judges again stating that article 8 defences would have to be exceptional in circumstances for the proportionality threshold to be crossed.

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