Appeal court backs landlord over family eviction
A landlord which won the backing of the Court of Appeal to evict a mother of seven following her husband’s conviction for hard drugs, has taken back control of the family home.
Friendship and Care Housing began steps to repossess the Birmingham home following the 2010 conviction of Sajid Qasim who was jailed for four-and-a-half years for possession of heroin, crack cocaine and methadone with intent to supply.
A county court hearing in May 2011 sided with the 4,600-home landlord and granted a possession order but Mr Qasim’s wife, Hameeda Begum – a joint tenant with her husband –argued that the decision went against the interests of her children and that the judge had acted ‘irrationally’.
Ms Begum took the case to the Court of Appeal in November last year but lost after the judge upheld the earlier ruling.
In refusing the appeal, Lord Justice Hooper said: ‘There were serious breaches of the tenancy agreement, seriously affecting the neighbourhood and those living there.’
He ruled that ‘no sound basis for hope that the previous conduct would cease’ was sufficient evidence to see Friendship’s former tenants evicted from their home.
Michelle Walters, Friendship’s anti-social behaviour officer, said: ‘In signing the tenancy agreement, both Mr Qasim and Ms Begum agreed to be held jointly responsible for all activity carried out in the home as well as the behaviour of everyone living in or visiting the property.
‘We have been working closely with West Midlands Police for some time tackling the ongoing anti-social behaviour and breaches of the tenancy agreement and it was our decision to evict the family based firmly on their history.’
Following the ruling, the landlord applied for a warrant which was confirmed for 5 April and Friendship subsequently took back possession of the home.
The landlord – which said it worked with the family and advised them to present themselves homeless to the council – said the decision of the court meant that tenants could not use their children as an excuse not to be evicted.
Friendship’s solicitor Dorota Pawlowski, of Trowers and Hamlin LLP, said: ‘Had this appeal succeeded, we would have been left in the unsavoury position whereby parents could rely on the fact that they have children to defeat a possession order.
‘While the existence of children – and what their fate may be if their parents are made the subject of such an order – are factors to be taken into consideration, the Court of Appeal’s decision sends a clear message that children are not shields to hide behind.
‘Registered housing providers across the UK should take heart from this outcome.
‘Friendship Care and Housing has set a precedent which will strengthen the case for other housing providers making a stand against the minority of tenants whose behaviour has a demonstrably adverse affect on the quality of life of their neighbours and the community as a whole.’
The landlord said it was not aware what had happened to the family since the eviction.