London Borough of Hounslow v Powell, Leeds City Council v Hall etc: SC 23 Feb 2011

In each case the tenant occupied the property as his home, but was not a secure tenant of the local authority. The Court was asked whether, in granting a possession order in such a case, the court was obliged to consider the proportionality of the order requested. Powell had been given emergency accomodation as a homeless person, but had accrued substantial arrears. Frisby and Hall were both probationary tenants.
Held: The principle set out in Pinnock applied equally in these cases. In any case where a local authority sought to retake possession of somebody’s home, a court asked to order possession must consider the proportionality of the proposed order, provided that the tenant raises the issue of proportionality and shows that it is seriously arguable. The court must be shown a legitimate aim, including the vindication of the rights as owner, or to enable the authority to manage and fulfil its statutory duties. Save in an unusual case, the authority need not be required to particularise further its reasons.
Section 127(2) assumes the lawfulness of the proposed order, and the issue of proportionality goes as to that lawfulness.


Lord Phillips, President, Lord Hope, Deputy President, Lord Rodger, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Brown, Lord Collins


[2011] UKSC 8, UKSC 2010/0086, UKSC 2010/0111, UKSC 2010/0071, [2011] 2 All ER 129, [2011] NPC 24, [2011] 2 WLR 287, [2011] PTSR 512, [2011] HLR 23, [2011] 9 EG 164, [2011] 2 AC 186


Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary


Housing Act 1985, European Convention on Human Rights 8, Housing Act 1996 127(2)


England and Wales


AppliedManchester 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 . .
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 . .
CitedDoherty and others v Birmingham City Council HL 30-Jul-2008
The House was asked ‘whether a local authority can obtain a summary order for possession against an occupier of a site which it owns and has been used for many years as a gipsy and travellers’ caravan site. His licence to occupy the site has come to . .
Appeal fromSalford City Council v Mullen CA 30-Mar-2010
The court considered the status of decisions to commence proceedings for possession by local authorities against tenants not protected under any statutory scheme. The tenants, on introductory tenancies and under the homelessness regime, argued that . .
CitedPaulic v Croatia ECHR 22-Oct-2009
The State re-acquired a former Yugoslavian Army flat and brought a civil action seeking the applicant’s eviction on the basis that he never obtained a specially protected tenancy under domestic law. The Croatian court ordered his eviction.
CitedZehentner v Austria ECHR 16-Jul-2009
ECHR The applicant’s apartment was subject to a judicial sale for non-payment of debt. She was ill, and did not participate in the sale. The local law had time limits for challenging a judicial sale, designed to . .
CitedCosic v Croatia ECHR 15-Jan-2009
The applicant teacher was provided a flat by her school, which it in had leased from the Yugoslavian Army. That lease expired in 1990. She remained, paying rent to the school. Ultimately the Croatian State, which had assumed ownership of Yugoslavian . .
CitedMcCann v The United Kingdom ECHR 9-Sep-2008
The local authority had determined Mr McCann’s right to remain in his home by obtaining from his wife a notice to quit, the effect of which (surrendering their joint tenancy) upon him she did not understand. He said that this interfered with his . .
CitedGillow v The United Kingdom ECHR 24-Nov-1986
The housing authority in Guernsey refused to allow the applicants to occupy the house they owned there.
Held: The house in question was the applicants’ home because, although they had been absent from Guernsey for many years, they had not . .
CitedBuckley v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Sep-1996
The Commission had concluded, by a narrow majority, that the measures taken by the respondent in refusing planning permission and enforcing planning orders were excessive and disproportionate, even allowing a margin of appreciation enjoyed by the . .
CitedKryvitska And Kryvitskyy v Ukraine ECHR 2-Dec-2010
. .
CitedLondon Borough of Harrow v Qazi HL 31-Jul-2003
The applicant had held a joint tenancy of the respondent. His partner gave notice and left, and the property was taken into possession. The claimant claimed restoration of his tenancy saying the order did not respect his right to a private life and . .

Cited by:

CitedSims v Dacorum Borough Council CA 24-Jan-2013
Husband and wife had been joint tenants of the council. On the breakdown of the marriage, W gave notice to quit. H defended the council’s possession action, saying that it was an infringement of his human rights for him to lose his tenancy and home. . .
CitedSims v Dacorum Borough Council SC 12-Nov-2014
Surrender at Common Law Survives Human Rights Law
The tenants held a secure weekly tenancy of the respondent under a joint tenancy. After a relationship breakdown, Mrs Sims had given notice to quit. Mr Sims, left in possession now argued that the common law rules should not be allowed to deprive . .
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 . .
CitedAkerman-Livingstone v Aster Communities Ltd SC 11-Mar-2015
Appeal about the proper approach of the courts where the defendant to a claim for possession of his home raises a defence of unlawful discrimination, contrary to the Equality Act 2010, by the claimant landlord. In particular, the issue is whether . .
CitedMcDonald v McDonald and Others SC 15-Jun-2016
Her parents had bought a house and granted tenancies to their adult daughter (the appellant), who suffered a personality disorder. They became unable to repay the mortgage. Receivers were appointed but the appellant fell into arrears with the rent. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Housing, Human Rights

Updated: 02 September 2022; Ref: scu.429724