ECHR rules on local authority possession case

McCann v The United Kingdom - 19009/04 [2008] ECHR 385.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the termination of a tenancy by a notice to quit by one of two joint tenants, and possession proceedings brought by the local authority against the remaining joint tenant, were contrary to the remaining tenant's right under Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the right to respect for private and family life and home).

The local authority had bypassed the statutory scheme available for obtaining an order for possession under section 84 of the Housing Act 1985 (HA 1985). The ECHR held that because of this, the tenant who had been evicted had not had the opportunity to have the proportionality of the regaining of possession by the local authority determined by a county court or by an independent tribunal.

The ECHR ruling is very important for public authorities that will need to be cautious about seeking to evict secure tenants other than in accordance with the HA 1985.

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