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Social Housing Shortage Trumps Human Rights

Published: 11 December 2014, in categories: Landlord and Tenant Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

In opening the way for a 76-year-old man’s eviction from the home where he brought up his six children, the Court of Appeal struck an anxious balance between individual human rights and the intense pressure on the supply of social housing.

Following the death of his wife and the departure of all but one of his children, the man and his daughter lived alone in the four-bedroom family home. His landlord, a housing association, argued successfully that he had forfeited his secure tenancy due to the extended periods he had spent working abroad. The property was not his ‘only or principal’ home and his daughter had no independent right to stay there.

Arguments that father and daughter’s eviction from the family home of more than 40 years would violate their human right to respect for family life were also dismissed and a possession order in favour of the housing association was confirmed.

In rejecting their appeal, the Court noted that the non-profit housing association was focused on providing low-cost housing to people of modest means. The Court could not ignore the great need for more social housing, particularly in urban areas, and their eviction was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

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