In the recent case of Holt v Reading Borough Council  EWCA Civ 641 the CA held that it is open to the trial judge to make a conditional order for possession on the ground of under-occupation, even when no suitable alternative accommodation is available at the date of the possession hearing.
Mrs Holt had succeeded to a secure tenancy of a 3 bedroom property on the death of her mother which she occupied as a single person.
At the date of the possession hearing, the Recorder found that it was reasonable to make a possession order. However, as no offer of suitable alternative accommodation had been made at the date of the hearing, she made an order for possession within 28 days of a formal binding offer being received by the defendant from the claimant of suitable alternative accommodation.
Mrs Holt appealed on the basis that the Recorder ought to have decided whether a particular unit of accommodation was suitable, and whether that unit would be available when the order took effect.
In dismissing the appeal, the CA set out:
However, a conditional order would not always be appropriate. In certain circumstances, it would be appropriate to adjourn the final determination of the application until a particular property has been identified (e.g. if the tenant were vulnerable). Furthermore, any conditional order should include a time limit within which the local authority must make the suitable accommodation available, thereafter the order would lapse.
Philippa Seal / 1st Jul 2013
The information and any commentary on the law contained on this web site is provided free of charge for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by any member of Chambers. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a lawyer about your case or matter and not to rely on the information or comments on this site. No responsibility is accepted for the content or accuracy of linked sites.
If you like what you've read but want to know more about how we can help you, simply call us:
Alternatively you can send us an email and a member of our team will contact you as soon as possible.