Blecic v Croatia: ECHR 29 Jul 2004

The applicant had for many years before 1992 had a protected tenancy of a publicly-owned flat in Zadar. Under Croatian law a specially-protected tenancy might be terminated if the tenant ceased to occupy the flat for a continuous period of six months, but not if the tenant’s failure was attributable to medical treatment, military service or ‘other justified reasons’. The applicant left to visit her daughter in Rome. War then intervened, conditions in Zadar were bad, and the applicant did not return until a time by which another occupant had, without permission, moved into the flat. The local authority had already initiated proceedings to terminate the tenancy. The applicant claimed that she had had justified reasons for not using the flat. This was accepted by an intermediate court, but rejected at first instance and by the Supreme Court. Thus, without justified reasons, the applicant had no grounds for resisting the termination of her tenancy.
Held: The premises in question were, for purposes of article 8, the applicant’s home. The facts disclosed an interference with the applicant’s right to respect for her home. Under the domestic property law there was no arguable defence to the claim once she had been found to have no justified reasons for her absence. The court considered, at some length, the excepting conditions in article 8. The interference had a legitimate aim. The interference was necessary in a democratic society, namely whether the interference answered a pressing social need and was proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. The Court respected the margin of appreciation accorded to national authorities and found that the applicant had had a fair opportunity to put forward her views and resist the claim made against her. The claim was inadmissible.
‘State intervention in socio-economic matters such as housing is often necessary in securing social justice and public benefit. In this area, the margin of appreciation available to the State in implementing social and economic policies is necessarily a wide one. The domestic authorities’ judgment as to what is necessary to achieve the objectives of those policies should be respected unless that judgment is manifestly without reasonable foundation. Although this principle was originally set forth in the context of complaints under article 1 of Protocol No 1 . . the State enjoys an equally wide margin of appreciation as regards respect for the home in circumstances such as those prevailing in the present case, in the context of article 8. Thus, the Court will accept the judgment of the domestic authorities as to what is necessary in a democratic society unless that judgment is manifestly without reasonable foundation, that is, unless the measure employed is manifestly disproportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.’


59532/00, [2004] ECHR 397, (2005) 41 EHRR 185


Worldlii, Bailii


European Convention on Human Rights 8


Human Rights

Cited by:

CitedKay and Another v London Borough of Lambeth and others; Leeds City Council v Price and others and others HL 8-Mar-2006
In each case the local authority sought to recover possession of its own land. In the Lambeth case, they asserted this right as against an overstaying former tenant, and in the Leeds case as against gypsies. In each case the occupiers said that the . .
See AlsoBlecic v Croatia ECHR 8-Mar-2006
The applicant alleged that her rights to respect for her home and to peaceful enjoyment of her possessions had been violated on account of the termination of her specially protected tenancy.
Held: Ratione temporis, the court had had no . .
CitedManchester City Council v Pinnock SC 3-Nov-2010
The tenant had been secure but had his tenancy had been reduced to an insecure demoted tenancy after he was accused of anti-social behaviour. He had not himself been accused of any misbehaviour, but it was said that he should have controlled his . .
CitedMGN Limited v United Kingdom ECHR 18-Jan-2011
The applicant publisher said that the finding against it of breach of confidence and the system of success fees infringed it Article 10 rights to freedom of speech. It had published an article about a model’s attendance at Narcotics anonymous . .
CitedManchester City Council v Pinnock SC 9-Feb-2011
The council tenant had wished to appeal following a possession order made after her tenancy had been demoted. The court handed down a supplemental judgment to give effect to its earlier decision. The Court had been asked ‘whether article 8 of the . . .
CitedZH and CN, Regina (on The Applications of) v London Boroughs of Newham and Lewisham SC 12-Nov-2014
The court was asked whether the 1977 Act required a local authorty to obtain a court order before taking possession of interim accommodation it provided to an apparently homeless person while it investigated whether it owed him or her a duty under . .
CitedWatts v Stewart and Others CA 8-Dec-2016
The court considered the status of residents of almshouses, and in particular whether they were licensees or tenants with associated security.
Held: The occupier’s appeal failed: ‘We do not accept the proposition that, if and insofar as Mrs . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Housing

Updated: 11 June 2022; Ref: scu.199860