5 March 2018, by Connor Johnston
The respondent, Mr Lane, was the assured tenant of the appellant, Teign Housing. Teign Housing sought possession against Mr Lane relying on grounds 12 and 14, Part 2, Schedule 2 Housing Act 1988. Among other things, it was argued that Mr Lane had removed various fixtures and fittings from his flat (including a gas flue) without consent; had excluded contractors from the flat; had unsettled the neighbouring tenants by installing CCTV (without permission) overlooking the communal areas; and had caused nuisance and annoyance by playing loud music and behaving aggressively.
The trial judge held that Mr Lane – who was a vulnerable individual – has breached his tenancy in a number of respects, but had believed that he had been permitted to do so and that many of his actions did not constitute to ‘relevant’ breaches of the tenancy and that, in any event it was not reasonable to grant a possession order. He went on to dismiss the possession claim.
Dingemans J allowed Teign Housing’s appeal. It was not clear what the judge had meant when he had referred to the absence of ‘relevant’ breaches of the tenancy. The fact that Mr Lane believed that his actions had been permitted did not provide him with a defence to the allegations of breach. And some of those allegations were capable of forming the basis for a finding that the relevant ground of possession was made out. In addition, on the facts, the judge had been wrong not to find further breaches of the tenancy. However, on the basis of the findings that had been made, it was not possible to say whether an outright possession order, or no possession order at all, would be the appropriate outcome. In light of which, the appeal was allowed and the claim remitted for a retrial.
The judgment is available here: Teign Housing v Lane  EWHC 40 (QB), 16 January 2018