Tuesday, 03 May 2016

'Pinnock' defence tenant loses eviction fight

A housing association has won a court battle to recover possession of one its homes from a tenant claiming the ‘Pinnock’ defence.

West Kent Housing Association had taken Alan Grant to court to reclaim possession of his flat following complaints of anti-social behaviour.

Mr Grant, who is in his 40s, argued that the way the housing association went about evicting him from his home in Edenbridge, Kent, was unlawful and the decision was disproportionate within the meaning of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In 2010, Cleveland Pinnock took Manchester Council to the Supreme Court alleging his eviction on the grounds of anti-social behaviour was a breach of his human rights because it was ‘disproportionate’.

He lost, but the court ruled that other courts could carry out ‘proportionality reviews’ of demoted tenancy possession claims.

Mr Grant used the defence at Tunbridge Wells County Court arguing that West Kent had other remedies available to it, including an anti-social behaviour injunction.

District Judge Hebblethwaite dismissed the claim on 13 July saying it was not disproportionate as Mr Grant had admitted anti-social behaviour and had agreed to a starter tenancy and knew the consequences of breaching its terms.

Dean Underwood, the barrister representing West Kent, said: ‘Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Pinnock, proportionality has become a common defence in many possession claims, especially those involving defendants with no security of tenure, such as ‘starter’ tenants like Mr Grant.

‘This case is important because it demonstrates Pinnock in action. Mr Grant’s defences were not seriously arguable and, accordingly, they were dismissed summarily, as the Supreme Court envisaged they should be.’

Frank Czarnowski, chief executive of West Kent, said: ‘Starter tenancies are very important to allow both tenant and landlord a probationary period. We are very pleased that the court has found our decision to evict Mr Grant to be proportionate.

‘We have very clearly defined procedures for recovering possession of our properties and, when we have to use them, we aim to apply them fairly to all of our tenants.

‘We are pleased that Mr Grant was found to have suffered no prejudice in the way we applied them to him.’

The case was dismissed and an outright possession order was made, enforceable in 14 days. Currently the association is waiting on bailiffs to assist in the eviction.

Readers' comments (3)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

Related

Articles

  • Government loses vote on 20p taper rate

    18 April 2016

    The government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its taper proposals for Pay to Stay.

  • TAROE loses £26k in a year

    8 December 2015

    England’s largest tenant body made a loss of more than £26,000 in 2014/15, reducing its reserves by more than a third.

  • Council helps PRS tenant resist eviction

    20 August 2015

    A London council which supported a tenant in successfully opposing an eviction order in court has slammed private sector landlords for contributing to homelessness.

  • Landlord defends planned commune eviction

    3 July 2015

    A housing association has issued a lengthy-defence of its decision to move out residents of ‘communes’ in London, claiming it is simply ‘carrying out its responsibilities as a landlord’.

  • 'A third of tenant data is inaccurate'

    24 June 2015

    More than a third of data that social landlords hold on tenants is inaccurate or missing, according to a tech supplier to the housing sector.

IH Subscription