Walker v Birmingham City Council [2006] EWCA Civ 815

Thursday 22 June 2006

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The Court of Appeal held this week that a person who survived to a joint tenancy in 1969 was not transformed into a successor by section 88(1)(b) of the Housing Act 1985 (Walker v Birmingham City Council[2006] EWCA Civ 815). Mrs Walker became a joint tenant with her husband in 1965. Mr Walker died in 1969, so Mrs Walker became the sole tenant. When Mrs Walker died in 2004, her son, Paul, sought to succeed to the secure tenancy. The local authority claimed possession of the property on the grounds that Mrs Walker becoming the sole tenant amounted to a succession, and since the Housing Act 1985 only allows for one succession, her son could not succeed. The Court of Appeal dismissed that argument. Since secure tenancies and the right to succeed did not exist in 1969, the Housing Act 1985 did not act to retrospectively transform an act of survivorship into one of succession. Paul will be able to remain in the council property that has been his home for more than 40 years.

Jan Luba QC and John Beckley acted for Paul Walker.

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