Supreme Court to rule on test case of tenant arguing human rights to avoid eviction

The Supreme Court has granted the Residential Landlords Association permission to intervene in a high-profile repossession case that could have far-reaching implications.

The McDonald v McDonald case concerns receivers acting for a bank which wants to repossess a property from a defaulting private sector landlord.

However, the landlord’s daughter is living in the property who is seeking to avoid being evicted by arguing that this would breach her human rights.

She is invoking an Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to respect for private and family life and home.

Her bid failed at the Court of Appeal and she has now taken her fight to the Supreme Court.

The RLA has now been given permission to make a written submission to the court.

The RLA believes that if the court finds in favour of the tenant it will seriously undermine the existing Section 21 legislation and give tenants the opportunity to raise spurious defences under Article 8 in order to delay possession proceedings.

Barristers working on behalf of the RLA are currently preparing the submission, with the hearing due to take place in March.

Richard Jones, policy consultant and company secretary for the RLA, said: “Landlords must feel that they are under attack on all sides at the moment.

“The private rented sector has become a key provider of residential accommodation as a result of landlords having the right to automatically repossess properties once a tenancy has ended on a ‘no fault basis’ and also the right to evict tenants who have not paid their rent for at least two months.

“This case is of fundamental importance because it challenges these rights. If the tenant succeeds then we can expect defences being raised claiming human rights particularly to delay claims for possession. In the meantime rent arrears could be mounting.

“The RLA took the decision to intervene in this case to make sure that the Supreme Court was made aware of the consequences, as well as giving us the opportunity to challenge the tenant’s claims.”


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  1. NewsBoy

    Maybe it’s time someone did the same to avoid eviction due to repossession???  Now that would cause a few issues.  Mind you if this does prove successful it will do nothing to improve the supply of rental properties at the bottom of the market where evictions and arrears are presumably that much more prevalent.

  2. Rent Rebel

    It will undermine S.21 they say. Well, that being the point of course. S.21 must be abolished. We can’t have tenants claiming a ‘spurious’ right to home, say the RLA. We must be able to chuck them out a moment’s notice..

    Do you see? Landlords’ needs must trump the needs of the tenants’, everytime. Landlords hold the trump card right now and they cannot bear to lose this ‘game’. Give tenants real security of tenure and then maybe they won’t need to resort to the human rights act and the supreme court.

  3. MK James

    Rent Rebel

    you clearly have never been a landlord who has in most cases become one to aid retirement. Just imagine the implications of this case – councils will not be able to evict bad tenants, neither will housing associations or landlords – in the current rental market good tenants and I mean good tenants have more rights than landlords. But someone who rents and does not pay for the accommodation is basically a thief……..

  4. Rent Rebel

    “councils will not be able to evict bad tenants, neither will housing associations or landlords “

    There are other possession grounds for doing just this.

    someone who rents and does not pay for the accommodation is basically a thief……..” 

    That’s why possession grounds exist for, amongst others, rent arrears. The thief is someone who takes something that isn’t theirs, yes. Just as the landowners did when they took the land and then sold it back to us.

    1. CountryLass

      And as a tenant has to be in 2 months arrears for that to take effect, we wait 2 months, issue the S8 notice on the grounds of rent arrears, pay the costs to take them to court when they don’t leave, and the day before the court hearing they pay just enough to take it to below 2 months arrears and get the file thrown out.

      Yes, that’s a much better plan!

      Believe it or not, most landlords want tenants to stay for years, taking care of the property and paying rent!

  5. Rent Rebel

    Believe it or not, real security of tenure for tenants and the issues with the S.8 possession ground are not the same conversation. You are just conflating them.

    1. CountryLass

      When you say that the S8 can be used to gain possession in the case of rent arrears and I point out the pitfalls it is.


      Landlords need a way to gain possession back of their property for whatever reason, arrears, change of circumstances, whatever.

      ‘S.21 must be abolished. We can’t have tenants claiming a ‘spurious’ right to home, say the RLA. We must be able to chuck them out a moment’s notice..’ Was your comment, and at the moment a S21 is the only way of asking tenants to leave without having to be owed money.

      And its at least 2 months notice by the way.

  6. Rent Rebel

    Your are still conflating two different conversations. You might be ‘solving’ your S.8 issues by using S.21 instead… but you have still failed to see the point.  Real security of tenure for tenants is the priority, you see. Issues with the S.8 ground need resolving, I agree, but they are not mutually exclusive.

    2 months minimum notice for a S.21, yes. It can be longer incidentally. But it rarely ever is. That’s really not something to feel smug about.

  7. NALR

    Is Rent Rebel a pseudonym for Jeremy Corbyn’s press office or some other bed wetting socialist think tank?

  8. Rent Rebel

    @NALR  You sound really intelligent.

  9. NALR

    Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit and not the highest form of intelligence, ergo I must be brighter than you. Landlords are already whipping boys for tenants, with the tenant occupying my building, paying no rent and I can’t evict them without going to court, how is that fair? I am fortunate that my tenants are not fat dole sponging layabouts who spend all their money (provided by me the tax payer) on shell suits, trainers, Stella and B&H! For the record I live in Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire, you ought to move here, you will find may like minded people!



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