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proportionality defence to possession claims? High Court maintains high threshold

26 March 2013

In the recent case of Birmingham City Council v Beech the tenant’s daughter and husband moved into the property to help care for the tenant.  When the tenant moved into a care home she signed a Notice to Quit.  The defence to the subsequent possession claim included a pleading that the eviction was a disproportionate infringement of Article 8 rights, since the property had been their home for a number of years.

The High Court reiterated that the threshold for establishing an arguable case that a local housing authority is acting disproportionately when seeking possession of public sector accommodation is a high one, and would only be met in a small proportion of cases. The proportionality defence in this case “did not even cross the high threshold of being seriously arguable”.

This case highlights the Appeal Court’s robust approach in dealing with proportionality defences. For the right type of case it is worth considering an appeal if a tenant’s proportionality defence is successful in the first instance.

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