Court Of Appeal Finds That Article 8 European Convention On Human Rights 1950 Does Not Support Occupier’s Right To A Tenancy Where He Did Not Succeed To A Secure Tenancy

In Thurrock Borough Council -v- Aaron West the Court of Appeal have decided that the grandson of a woman who succeeded to a secure tenancy herself could not rely on human rights grounds to oppose a Possession Order being made against him.

On the death of the grandmother the tenancy she held was terminated by the Local Authority serving a Notice to Quit. The Judge in the lower Court refused to grant the Council a Possession Order on the basis that, under Article 8, to evict the grandson and his family to be re-housed in another property by the Local Authority would be disproportionate.

The Court of Appeal disagreed.

Although Article 8 may provide a Defence of disproportionality to a claim for possession by the Council, the test was whether seeking, making and enforcing a Possession Order was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. The threshold was high. As a matter of public policy Councils and Social Landlords were better equipped than the Courts to manage their stock for the benefit of the whole community. Succession to secure tenancies had been limited by Parliament. There was nothing exceptional about the limited financial means of the grandson and his family or their housing needs. Their circumstances were typical to those needing social housing. The fact that they had not defaulted on financial obligations, had not caused a nuisance and had a long association with the property and the locality did not preclude the Council from having possession of the property which the grandson had no right to occupy through succession.

In effect, the Council could not be compelled to grant him a tenancy to which he had no other right and which would have enabled him to remain in occupation without any time limit overriding the limitations placed by Parliament on the succession rights to secure tenancies.

If you have any queries concerning the matters raised please contact Jeremy Teall of the Property Litigation Team on 020 8567 3477 or email