Westminster City Council v Clarke: HL 29 Apr 1992

An occupant of a hostel for homeless and vulnerable single men had only a licence to occupy the room, and was not a tenant. There was a resident warden and a team of support workers. The intention was that residents should use the hostel as a temporary base as part of their rehabilitation.
Held: An agreement which gives a right to exclusive possession is prima facie a tenancy. The accommodation was however provided for a clear purpose, and that would require the ability to ask residents to swap rooms or to move on. ‘This is a very special case which depends on the peculiar nature of the hostel maintained by the Council, the use of the hostel by the Council, the totality immediacy and objectives of the powers exercisable by the Council and the restrictions imposed on Mr Clarke. The decision in this case will not allow a landlord private or public to free himself from the Rent Acts or from the restrictions of a secure tenancy merely by adopting or adapting the language of the licence to occupy.’


Lord Templeman


Gazette 29-Apr-1992, [1992] AC 288, [1992] 24 HLR 360, [1992] UKHL 11, [1992] 1 All ER 695




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedUratemp Ventures Limited v Collins HL 11-Oct-2001
Can a single room within a hotel comprise a separate dwelling within the 1988 Act and be subject to an assured tenancy?
Held: A single room can be a dwelling. Each case must be interpreted in its own light as a question of fact, but respecting . .
CitedParkins v City of Westminster CA 20-Nov-1997
The council granted what it called a licence to the applicant. He was one of their employee teachers, and they wanted to supply accomodation. They appealed refusal of possession on the basis that he had become a secure tenant under the Act. It had . .
CitedBrennan v London Borough of Lambeth CA 3-Jun-1997
The appellant sought to resist his eviction from temporary hostel accomodation provided to him by the local authority, saying that the provisions of the 1977 Act protected him.
Held: The agreement was a licence excluded from protection by the . .
CitedBruton v London and Quadrant Housing Trust HL 24-Jun-1999
The claimant sought to oblige the respondent to repair his flat under the 1988 Act. The respondent replied that the arrangement was a licence only, and not protected under the Act.
Held: The housing association had a temporary licence to . .
CitedKay, Gorman, etc v London Borough of Lambeth, London and Quadrant Housing Trust CA 20-Jul-2004
The defendant local authority had licenced houses to a housing trust, which in turn granted sub-licences to the claimants who were applicants for housing under homelessness provisions, and who now asserted that they became secure tenants of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Housing, Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.90421