Governors of the Peabody Trust v Lawrence
Philcox Gray’s Partner and Head of Housing Ruth Camp, acted for the defendant in her successful defence of a possession order sought by a local housing association.
Our client had lived in a property with her mother, who was the secure tenant, since she was four. Her mother had a long history of depression and mental health problems. Our client became the main carer for her mother from the age of 10. Sadly her mother took her own life.
Our client succeeded to the tenancy and but was also suffering from her own mental health problems. Following her mother’s death, she needed regular care and support through the day and night. She did not have a full-time carer, but relied on the help and support of a large network of family, friends and neighbours. The housing association asserted that the property, which had three bedrooms, was too large for her needs. It claimed possession under Housing Act (HA) 1985 Sch 2 Pt III ground 16. We supported our client in arguing that it was not reasonable to grant possession and, in any event, suitable alternative accommodation would need two bedrooms as she required space for her overnight carers to sleep and outside space for her dog, which was a source of support to her.
At the 2 day trial, the Central London County Court Judge found that a one-bedroom property was not suitable alternative accommodation as the defendant reasonably required two bedrooms. Our client also needed a ground floor property with a secure area for her dog to be exercised. The Judge found that while there was a very substantial demand for family-sized housing in the London, in all the circumstances, the risk of harm to our client if moved, outweighed the social benefit of freeing up a three bedroom house. It was therefore not reasonable to make a possession order. The Judge ordered that the claimants pay the defendant’s costs.
After the hearing Ruth Camp commented: “this was a great result for our client; it gives her the opportunity to now finally grieve for her mother and move on with her life, and to seek to address her own health problems for the future”
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