Wragg and others v Surrey County Council: CA 1 Feb 2008

The Council appealed against declarations given that the respondent tenants (wildlife rangers) were entitled to purchase the freehold of their homes under right-to-buy. The Council said that the tenancies were occupied in connection with their employments.
Held: Richards LJ said: the provision is to be construed as laying down two distinct conditions: first, that ‘his contract of employment requires him to occupy the dwelling-house’; secondly, that the requirement is ‘for the better performance of his duties’. The first condition looks only to the terms of the contract: the question is simply whether the contract contains such a requirement or not. The second condition, however, raises an issue of fact outside the contract: the question is not whether the contract states that the requirement is for the better performance of his duties, but whether the requirement is in fact for the better performance of his duties.’ and ‘The legislative policy behind the statutory provision must be to deny an employee security of tenure and the right to buy only in those cases where there is a real link between the requirement to occupy the property and the performance of the employee’s duties, such as to justify the employer recovering the property for use by subsequent employees when the present occupier’s employment comes to an end.’
Pill, Moore-Bick, Richards LJJ
[2008] EWCA Civ 19
Housing Act 1985 118 124
England and Wales
CitedNorris (t/a J Davis and Son) v Checksfield CA 17-Apr-1991
The employee occupied the property under a licence granted by his employer for the better performance of his employment duties. At first he had been taken on as a semi-skilled mechanic, but he was later offered occupation of the employer’s bungalow . .
CitedFox v Dalby 1874
A militia sergeant occupied a house built expressly for accommodation of persons looking after the stores and which had been assigned to him by his commanding officer.
Held: The sergeant did not occupy the house as a tenant. Brett J said: . .
AppliedGlasgow Corporation v Johnstone and Others (orse Johnstons) HL 1965
A house lived in by a church officer was occupied for rating purposes by the church’s congregational board which employed him, and so was not liable for full rates. Lord Hodson said: ‘The distinction is usually shortly stated in this way: if the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 February 2021; Ref: scu.264055