Eviction Does Not Breach Tenant Human Rights, Court Decides

A landmark ruling from Britain’s top court stops tenants from trying to stop an eviction by claiming to make them leave their home infringes their human rights.

Judges at the Supreme Court ruled against an appeal from Fiona MacDonald, 45, who is fighting against an eviction order from receivers acting for buy-to-let lender Capital Home Loans.

The court heard that the unfortunate case against Miss MacDonald, who has mental health issues, arose from the failure of a business owned by her parents.

In May 2005, they bought the buy-to-let property in Witney, Oxfordshire, for their daughter to let as her home on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST).

The mortgage fell into arrears because their business faced financial problems.

The lender appointed receivers to manage the tenancy. Although the rent was paid, arrears were still outstanding, so the receivers applied for a possession order.

The case was heard at Oxford County Court, where Judge Corrie decided he had to grant the order but felt if he had to consider the human rights issue, he would have ruled for Mss MacDonald.

Mss MacDonald argued this at the Court of Appeal, where the case was rejected.

She then took the case on appeal to the Supreme Court, where his argument was dismissed.

The court ruled a tenant could not argue their human rights were infringed if a private landlord claimed possession of their home.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that a social housing tenant could claim a possession order impacted their human rights if the landlord was a public authority (Manchester City Council v Pinnock).

The judges decided that lawmakers wanted the contractual terms of an AST came before human rights laws.

Read the full judgment

Read a summary explanation of the judgment

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Landlord No Reason (Section 173) Notice

Under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, how possession is sought changes for occupation contracts. There is a "no reason" section 173 notice (comparable to section 21) upon giving six months' notice