Birmingham City Council v Walker: HL 16 May 2007

The tenant was the son of the former tenant. The tenancy had originally been in the ownership of his father and his mother. The father died in 1969, when the tenancy not yet a secure tenancy. On the mother’s death, the council argued that the first death amounted to a succession, so that on the mother’s death, no further succession could take place.
Held: Before 1980, the tenants of local authorities had no security. The provisions for succession applied only while the tenancy was secure. The current succession was therefore the first under the 1985 Act.
Lord Hoffman said: ‘The method adopted by the 1980 Act to deal with transmissions is different. It reflects the fact that a secure tenancy is different in nature from a statutory tenancy. Whereas the statutory tenancy is unassignable, not an estate in land but a mere ‘personal right of occupation’ (see Lord Greene MR in Carter v SU Carburetter Co [1942] 2 KB 288, 291), a secure tenancy is an orthodox estate in land which, subject to specific restrictions in the 1980 Act, can be assigned, held in joint names, pass by survivorship and be disposed of by will on death. Thus, while a statutory tenancy can pass from one person to another only in very limited circumstances (such as the statutory transmission on death or by a court order on divorce) a secure tenancy can in principle pass in any way permissible at common law.’
Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lord Mance
[2007] UKHL 22, Times 18-May-2007, [2008] 1 P and CR 16, [2007] 2 P and CR DG10, [2007] L and TR 24, [2007] 3 All ER 445, [2007] HLR 38, [2007] 2 AC 262, [2007] NPC 61, [2007] 2 WLR 1057, [2007] 2 EGLR 58, [2007] 21 EG 131
Housing Act 1985
England and Wales
Appeal fromWalker v Birmingham City Council CA 22-Jun-2006
. .
CitedCarter v SU Carburetter Co CA 1942
A statutory tenancy is not an estate in land but a mere ‘personal right of occupation’ and is unassignable. . .
CitedWhitmore v Lambert 1955
Provisions for transmission of secure tenancies operated only once. . .

Cited by:
CitedChartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd and Others HL 1-Jul-2009
Mutual Knowledge admissible to construe contract
The parties had entered into a development contract in respect of a site in Wandsworth, under which balancing compensation was to be paid. They disagreed as to its calculation. Persimmon sought rectification to reflect the negotiations.
Held: . .
CitedSolihull Metropolitan Borough Council v Hickin CA 27-Jul-2010
The claimant sought to succeed to a secure tenancy. She had lived with her mother, a joint tenant, but who had died before her father who had not lived at the house for many years and who had now died. The council said that the tenancy had become . .
CitedSolihull Metropolitan Borough Council v Hickin SC 25-Jul-2012
The claimant’s parents were secure joint tenants. After her father left, the mother later died. The respondent served a notice on the father terminating the tenancy since as the survivor and not resident, he was not entitled to continue the tenancy. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 July 2021; Ref: scu.252415