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Posted on June 16th 2016 by admin-movingin

Landmark case as tenant loses after claiming Human Rights should prevent eviction

Original Author: Rosalind Renshaw

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a private tenant who claimed a possession order on her home was a breach of her human rights.

Lawyers say the ruling will be welcomed by private landlords and also their mortgage providers.

Had the Court ruled in the tenant’s favour, it could have prevented both landlords and lenders from securing possession of their properties through the courts.

This landmark case, McDonald v McDonald, focused on an assured shorthold tenant with mental health problems who rented the property from her parents.

When they fell into arrears with their mortgage a possession order was issued by receivers appointed by the lender.

The tenant opposed the possession order on the grounds that it was incompatible with the right to respect for her home under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

She also claimed the receivers had not been entitled to serve notice on her in their own names.

The case was heard by the Supreme Court in March after initial hearings at Oxford County Court and the Court of Appeal.

Yesterday, five Supreme Court judges ruled unanimously that the tenant’s rights under Article 8 were not infringed by the possession order.

The Residential Landlords Association formally intervened in the case to ensure that the legitimate right of landlords and lenders to reclaim possession at the end of a tenancy or lending period remained.

RLA policy director David Smith said: “It is sad that it has taken this particular case to clarify this important point of law, but if the appeal had been allowed it would have completely undermined the ability of landlords to reclaim possession of their property at the end of a tenancy.

“It could have opened the door to those tenants who might seek to make false accusations to remain in a property.

“This would have severely damaged the confidence of landlords to let properties and lenders to provide the funds for the homes to rent the country needs.

“Whilst welcoming the court judgement, it does act as a reminder that landlords should be clear that they can keep up with mortgage payments, even through difficult financial times.”

Chris Perrin, partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is a significant case and if the appellant had been successful, it could have led to a major extension of the applicability of human rights into private disputes.

“Had the decision been made the other way it would have led to significant further delays and costs in recovering possession.”

The tenant could, however, still pursue her case – to the European Court of Human Rights.