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Posted on October 17th 2016 by admin-movingin

Tenant citing human rights to avoid eviction set to pursue case at European court

Original Author: Marc Shoffman

The Residential Landlords Association is warning that a landmark case of a tenant using the Human Rights Act to avoid eviction could make it harder to enforce Section 21 notices if the tenant wins her case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court rejected a claim in the case of McDonald v McDonald where receivers acting for a bank tried to repossess a property from a defaulting private landlord.

The landlord’s daughter, who has mental health problems, was living in the property and tried to invoke Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to respect for private and family life and home – to avoid being evicted.

The RLA intervened in the case and warned it could set a dangerous precedent for compulsory evictions. The tenant’s claim was rejected and now the tenant is planning to go to the European Court of Human Rights.

This is the first time a tenant has used this route while the European Court has in the past ruled on cases involving social housing and local councils with mixed conclusions. Some cases have been dismissed but European judges have also said Article 8 should be considered in exceptional circumstances.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “We intervened in this case at the Supreme Court and are keeping a close eye on its progress.

“If the appeal had been allowed by the Supreme Court it would have completely undermined the ability of landlords to reclaim possession of their property at the end of a tenancy and opened the door to tenants who might want to remain in a property based on situations of which the landlord was entirely unaware.

“Given the great importance of this case and the fact that the landlord is unlikely to now be involved, we may intervene again and will be considering an appropriate response if we deem it necessary.”