5 July, 16

Succession

Succession is a right given under statute law for certain types of tenancies to pass on to family members following the death of a tenant in prescribed circumstances. Our housing team can advise you on succession rights and any discretionary duties of a social landlord to allow succession where there is no statutory right of succession, and possession proceedings following the death of a tenant ( in circumstances were the right to succeed is dispute or a right is accepted but the succeeding tenant would be under occupying).

Certain types of residential occupiers can have there right to occupy premises terminated on the landlord giving written notice to quit/notice seeking possession. In such cases if the landlord is a social housing landlord it may be possible to defend the claim for possession on the basis that it is not proportionate to do so, raising arguments that would normally be raised in public law proceedings (also known as Judicial Review proceedings) or with regards to Article 8 rights. Article 8 provides that everyone has the right to respect for their home and family life and that this right can only be interfered with if it is proportionate. A public law defence would examine whether the decision to seek possession was proportionate and/or unlawful. The threshold which must be reached before a Human Rights or Public Law defence will be considered by the Courts is one of “serious arguability”. This test will be applied by the Judge when they decide whether to adjourn possession proceedings at the first hearing so as to allow a defence to be filed.

Factors which are considered in cases of this type include:

1. Did the social landlord have regard to all relevant considerations (Including relevant policy and guidance)?

2. Did the social landlord conduct any required review?

3. Did the social landlord carry out its own proportionality assessment?

4. In cases involving people with protected characteristics such as disability, did the social landlord consider this and apply its obligations under its duties under the Equality Act?

5. Did the social landlord act fairly?

6. Did the social landlord provide reasons to the occupant for its decision to seek eviction and why it decided that there was no alternative option?

At GT Stewart, our housing lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with such cases and can provide you with comprehensive and effective advice.

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