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Delay Does Not Remove Tenant’s Rights

Published: 28 August 2013, in categories: Landlord and Tenant Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

Delay Does Not Remove Tenant’s Rights

When a local authority ‘temporarily’ moved a tenant out of her flat so that it could be repaired, she looked forward to being able to return once the work was finished.

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The repairs took five years to complete and the council, instead of inviting her to return, let the flat to a new tenant.

When the womansought an order for possession of the flat (in which she had now not lived for eight years), the court ruled that she did not have a tenancy of the first flat but did have a secure tenancy of the flat she had moved into. The judge considered that an earlier possession order against her meant that the ‘decant agreement’ had effectively made no difference to the validity of that order.

She appealed against the decision. The Court of Appeal ruled that the judge’s apparent view that the decant agreement was signed in the absence of awareness of the earlier possession order was unjustified. The decant agreement had achieved the end desired by the council, which was the removal of the tenant on a temporary basis and the conferring on her of the right to return in due course to her original flat. The judge considered that the form of the agreement expressly recognised the woman as a secure tenant.

She was therefore entitled to require the council to allow her to reoccupy her former flat and could claim damages from the council for its failure to do so.


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