21 November 2017, by Connor Johnston
Mavris v Xylia  EWHC 2949 (Ch), 1 November 2017
X was the tenant of M. M sought possession against X on the basis of rent arrears. At trial M and X sought to rely on conflicting versions of the two tenancy agreements under which X had occupied the property, which contained different terms.
The judge held that X’s versions were genuine and that there were no rent arrears, and proceeded to dismiss the possession claim. M appealed. At trial, bank statements had been disclosed by X showing payments of housing benefit. Inquiries of the housing benefit department subsequently revealed that the local authority were in possession of a further version of the tenancy agreement which suggested that M’s versions were accurate and X’s versions were false.
This new evidence was admitted on appeal and Vos J held that the new evidence tended to show fraud on the part of X, albeit fraud had not been demonstrated incontrovertibly. Applying the principles in Noble v Owens  EWCA Civ 224, Vos J held that a retrial would not be appropriate but instead remitted the matter for a trial on the issue of fraud with the outcome of the appeal to be contingent on the trial judge’s finding on this issue: if fraud was established then the appeal would be allowed and if not then it would be dismissed.