Sims 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.
Held: The appellant accepted that the case of Hammersmith v Monk was binding, but asked for permission to take the case to the Supreme Court. Permission was refused. The appeal was solely on Human Rights grounds. The claimant was ‘aiming, by use of the ECHR, to obtain a tenancy of a three bedroom family house for himself in place of the joint tenancy of a family home which the Council had originally granted. That seems to me to be more a case of interference with the Council’s enjoyment of its possessions than of an interference by the Council with the possessions of Mr Sims.’ Article 8 is not engaged. Monk laid down a substantive rule of property and contract law under which one joint tenant has the right to serve notice unilaterally terminating a periodic joint tenancy. Article 1 of the First Protocol is not engaged. As (a) the rule in Monk is a proprietary and contractual legal right inherent in the joint tenancy of the property granted by the Council to Mr Sims and Mrs Sims and (b) the notice given by Mrs Sims to the Council was in exercise of her rights as a joint tenant, there was no ‘interference’ by her or by the Council with the enjoyment of the possessions of Mr Sims. His relevant possession was an interest in a joint tenancy that was, in its very nature, terminable unilaterally by Mrs Sims or by him.

Mummery, Etherton LJJ, Sir Scott Baker
[2013] EWCA Civ 12, [2013] HLR 14
European Convention on Human Rights 8, Human Rights Act 1998
England and Wales
BindingHammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council v Monk HL 5-Dec-1991
One tenant of two joint tenants of a house left and was granted a new tenancy on condition that the existing one of the house, still occupied by her former partner, was determined. She gave a notice to quit as requested, the council claimed . .
CitedBurton v London Borough of Camden HL 27-Jan-2000
One tenant left the other in a flat subject to a protected secure tenancy. The legislation prohibited assignment of such tenancies. In order to support an application by the remaining tenant the departing tenant executed a deed purporting to release . .
CitedNotting Hill Housing Trust v Brackley and Another CA 24-Apr-2001
One of two joint tenants was able to give a notice to quit a joint periodic tenancy, without first referring to the co-tenant. If this was inappropriate, then it was for Parliament to change the law. Such a notice was not the exercise of a . .
CitedNewlon Housing Trust v Alsulaimen and Another HL 29-Jul-1998
A tenancy which had been terminated by a notice given by one of the joint tenants had expired. It did not come to an end by any deed, and so was not capable of being set aside by a family court in the course of divorce proceedings. The possession . .
CitedCrawley Borough Council v Ure CA 23-Feb-1995
A notice to quit given by one of two joint tenants was binding on the other tenant despite there having been no consultation between them. . .
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 . .
CitedLondon 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 . .
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 . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromSims 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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant, Human Rights

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.470554