North British Housing Association Ltd v Matthews, Same v Others: CA 21 Dec 2004

In each case the tenants requested adjournment of the possession proceedings brought against them by the landlord for arrears of rent to allow them time to bring the arrears below the level at which a possession order could be made. In each case it was said that the situation arose from maladministration by the local authority of their housing benefit, and that this was an exceptional circumstance to allow an adjournment.
Held: The effective date was the date of the hearing. The judge had no discretion to adjourn, and the failures of the local authority did not create an exceptional circumstance. To adjourn the case would deprive the landlord of its claim. ‘the authorities tend in our judgment to show that the court should not adjourn a hearing date for the purpose of enabling a defendant to rely on a subsequent change in the law or the facts and thereby defeat the claim. ‘ and ‘We acknowledge that this conclusion will lead to tenants who are in receipt of housing benefit having no defence to a claim for possession in circumstances where they are not at fault. The statutory scheme is, therefore, potentially draconian in its application.’


Lord Justice Brooke Vice President Of The Court Of Appeal (Civil Division) Lord Justice Mance And Lord Justice Dyson


[2004] EWCA Civ 1736, Times 11-Jan-2005, [2005] 1 WLR 3133, [2005] 2 All ER 667, [2005] HLR 17




Housing Act 1988 8


England and Wales


CitedBritish Anzani (Felixstowe) Ltd v International Marine Management (UK) Ltd ChD 19-Dec-1978
Money expended by a tenant on discharging his landlord’s covenants will in appropriate circumstances operate as a partial or a complete discharge so as to furnish a defence at law to a claim for unpaid rent; and where the tenant has suffered damage . .
CitedManchester City Council v Cochrane and Cochrane CA 21-Dec-1998
The tenants held an introductory tenancy under the Act. The council sought possession, after giving notice, and after its review under the Act. The tenants objected, but the Council denied the right of the County Court to hear the objection, arguing . .
CitedMountain v Hastings CA 16-Apr-1993
The tenant disputed the effect of a notice to quit. Paragraph 3 of the form read: ‘The landlord intends to seek possession on grounds . . in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988, which reads: Give the full text of each ground which is being relied on. . .
CitedRegina v Walsall Justices, ex parte W (a minor) QBD 1990
A youth was charged with causing grievous bodily harm. His trial was fixed for 11 October 1988. On the date of trial, the prosecution applied for an adjournment on the grounds that, if the trial proceeded immediately and the magistrates decided that . .
CitedAndy Coltrane v Janice Day CA 14-Mar-2003
In the course of possession proceedings for non payment of rent under an assured tenancy, the tenant gave the landlord a cheque which cleared the arrears.
Held: The past course of dealings between the parties showed that the landlord had . .
CitedKingcastle Limited v Owen-Owen CA 19-Feb-1999
In a claim for possession of residential premises, the defendant who was the gay partner of the deceased tenant, to have succeeded to his partner’s tenancy as a member of his family.
Held: A court may adjourn a case pending the outcome of an . .
CitedCity Council of Bristol v Lovell HL 26-Feb-1998
A County Court may stay a right to buy application by the tenant, even though terms had been agreed, in order to await the result of court proceedings for possession against the secure misbehaving tenant. A court’s case management powers can be . .
CitedCity Council of Bristol v Lovell HL 26-Feb-1998
A County Court may stay a right to buy application by the tenant, even though terms had been agreed, in order to await the result of court proceedings for possession against the secure misbehaving tenant. A court’s case management powers can be . .
CitedRegina v Dudley Magistrates Court ex parte Hollis; Robert v Same Admn 25-Nov-1997
An award of costs is inevitable after a finding of statutory nuisance and such costs include cost of establishing the nuisance. ‘The wide discretion as to whether to grant an adjournment conferred by section 10 and section 54 of the Magistrates’ . .
CitedRegina v A Circuit Judge (sitting at Norwich County Court) ex parte Wathen QBD 1976
Lessors claimed for arrears of rent, forfeiture of the lease and possession of the premises. The lessee admitted the arrears, advanced no defence and did not seek an adjournment. The judge, of his own motion, adjourned the hearing because the . .
CitedBirmingham Citizens Permanent Building Society v Caunt 1962
The court considered whether there it had jurisdiction to refuse to order possession in favour of a legal mortgagee under an instalment mortgage under which, by reason of default, the whole money had become payable.
Held: The court made an . .
CitedLondon and Quadrant Housing Trust v Sandra Ison 8-Sep-2003
(Romford County Court) ‘A judge who adjourns the hearing of a ground 8 possession claim solely in order to allow a defendant an opportunity to defeat that claim, whether by extracting payment from the housing benefit authority or from any other . .
CitedStewart v Engel, BDO Stoy Hayward CA 17-May-2000
A judge may reopen a case even after he has delivered his final judgment. A judge invited counsel to amend his pleading to incorporate an improvement, but in the face of his repeated failure to take up the invitation, entered final judgment against . .
LeaveNorth British Housing Association Limited v Lorraine Matthews CA 21-Dec-2004
. .

Cited by:

CitedS v Floyd, Equality and Human Rights Commission CA 18-Mar-2008
The court considered the relationship between the two Acts. The assured tenant had fallen into arrears, and was subject to an order for possession. He claimed that his disability required the court not to make an order for possession against her, . .
CitedMexfield Housing Co-Operative Ltd v Berrisford ChD 5-Oct-2009
The claimant appealed against refusal of a summary order for possession of the defendant tenant’s house for arrears of rent. The arrears arose through delay in payment of Housing Benefit, and all arrears had been cleared by the hearing of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Housing, Litigation Practice

Updated: 17 September 2022; Ref: scu.220526