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Court Ruling Gives Confidence to Invest in New Homes

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The Supreme Court has today ruled that rights to a private and family life need not get in the way of legitimate cases where landlords and mortgage lenders need to reclaim possession of a rented home.

The Court had ruled that whilst the right to a private and family life, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, applies in relation to so called ’no fault’ possession claims, Parliament has already legislated to ensure that this cannot frustrate landlords and lenders with a legitimate reasons for needing to reclaim possession of a property.

In the sad case of McDonald v McDonald, a daughter with mental health problems rented a property from her parents. Having got into financial difficulty they were unable to maintain the loan interest payments on the property. Consequently the lender who provided the parents with the money for the property sought to reclaim possession of the house at the end of the period over which the loan had been provided.

After her case was dismissed in the lower courts, the daughter went to the Supreme Court arguing that being required to leave the property breached her right to a private and family life as outlined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The judges did not agree with this and rejected the appeal.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) formally intervened in the case to ensure that the legitimate right of landlords and lenders to reclaim possession at the end of a tenancy or lending period remained.

RLA Policy Director, David Smith, commented:

“It is sad that it has taken this particular case to clarify this important point of law, but if the appeal had been allowed it would have completely undermined the ability of landlords to reclaim possession of their property at the end of a tenancy.

“It could have opened the door to those tenants who might seek to make false accusations to remain in a property.

“This would have severely damaged the confidence of landlords to rent properties and lenders to provide the funds for the new homes to rent the country needs.

“Whilst welcoming the court’s judgement, it does act as a reminder that landlords should be clear that they can keep up with mortgage payments, even through difficult financial times.”



  • The RLA represents 40,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.
  • Further information about the RLA can be found at or by following it on twitter @RLA_News.
  • For further information please contact the RLA’s consultant, Ed Jacobs on 0113 278 0211 (office), 07706386773 (out of office hours) or email

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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