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Daughter Cannot Inherit Deceased Mother’s Council Tenancy

Published: 17 March 2013, in categories: Landlord and Tenant Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Daughter Cannot Inherit Deceased Mother’s Council Tenancy

A daughter has failed to convince the High Court that her eviction from the council home where her family has lived for more than 45 years would amount to a violation of her human rights.

The court ruled that she could not succeed to the secure tenancy of her deceased mother and that the three-bedroom property was larger than was reasonably required by her and her husband.

The woman’s mother and father had been tenants of the property in a desirable area of Birmingham since 1967.  On her father’s death in 1994, her mother succeeded to the tenancy. However, the daughter could not herself succeed to the tenancy on her mother’s death in 2010 due to the bar on double succession contained within section 87 of the Housing Act 1985.

In arguing that eviction would violate her right to respect for her home, enshrined in article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, the daughter pointed to the length of occupation, her close links to the local community and to substantial improvements she and her husband had made to the property. However, the local authority insisted that the couple were ‘under-occupying a desirable house’ and that several offers of alternative accommodation had been made.

The mother had signed a form giving up her tenancy whilst living in a nursing home shortly before her death. However, the court rejected her daughter’s plea that the circumstances in which that document was executed were unconscionable and that her mother’s signature had been secured by undue influence.

Mr Justice Keith concluded: "The fact remains that the daughter and her husband have never been assessed as needing a property of this size and the refusal of the court to grant the council an order for possession would be tantamount to granting them a right of occupation to which they would not otherwise be entitled. Their personal circumstances are a long way from making an order for possession against them a disproportionate means of ensuring compliance with the council's policy of allocating properties with three bedrooms only to those who really need a property of that size”.

 

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