Landlords face increasing legal challenges, warns tenants' champion
The introduction of flexible tenancies and housing benefit changes will increasingly lead to legal challenges from tenants, according to Cora Carter.
Ms Carter, chair of Tenants and Residents Organisations of England, told the Chartered Institiute of Housing south east conference in Brighton yesterday that tenants will seek to challenge social landlords’ policies in the court.
She said the removal of security of tenure for new tenants, and plans to cut benefit for people under-occupying their homes could lead to challenges.
She said: ‘The Department for Work and Pensions and locals authorities will face increasing challenges from tenants in the courts. Will the court system be able to stand up to this? Will your budgets allow you to cope with it?’
Tim Crook, solicitor at Housing Law Services, later told the conference that a series of human rights rulings, which re-enforced the principle that a landlord must show proportionality before seeking a possession order, would not necessarily lead to successful legal challenges.
Mr Crook said that if landlords were transparent about their policies, and gave tenants six months notice before the end of their tenancy, it would be rare for a tenant to have a case.
He said the Supreme Court rulings had established the principle that the social landlord’s aims are presumed to be legitimate and that it is for the tenant to raise a proportionality argument.