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Tenant loses landmark buy to let eviction legal challenge
21 June 2016
Judges at the Supreme Court have ruled that private landlords do not impact on the human rights of tenants when they are evicted.
In a landmark decision, they upheld the rights of buy to let landlords.
Had the court decision gone against landlords, claiming a possession order in the courts would have become more expensive and a more drawn out process.
The decision could also have affected other private contract disputes.
The court heard that the unfortunate case against Fiona MacDonald, 45, who has mental health issues, arose from the failure of a business owned by her parents.
Her parents bought a property in Witney, Oxfordshire, for her to let from them.
Unfortunately, their business ran into financial difficulties and the mortgage with Capital Home Loans fell into arrears.
Receivers were appointed to manage the property, but although Miss MacDonald paid her rent, the arrears remained outstanding. As a result, the lender asked for a possession order at Oxford County Court.
A judge decided he had to grant the order but commented he would have ruled for Miss MacDonald if he could consider the human rights issue, which he could not do by law.
Miss MacDonald took the case to the Court of Appeal, where her human rights argument was rejected.
She appealed again to the Supreme Court, where the court maintained a tenant’s human rights were not infringed if a private landlord claimed possession of a property.
In 2011, the Supreme Court decided a social housing tenant could argue a possession order was disproportionate action if the landlord was a public authority (Manchester City Council v Pinnock).
Miss MacDonald can still appeal her case to the European courts, but has not announced any decision to do so.