Landmark ruling is good news for landlords

The Supreme Court has ruled that the right to a private and family life does not prevent landlords and mortgage lenders from reclaiming possession of a rented home.

The Court had previously ruled that the right to a private and family life, which is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, applies to so called ‘no fault’ possession claims.

Parliament has already legislated to ensure that this cannot prevent landlords and lenders with a legitimate reason to reclaim possession of a rented property.

In the case of McDonald v McDonald, a daughter rented a property from her parents. After getting into financial difficulty her parents were unable to maintain the loan payments.

Consequently, the lender sought to reclaim possession of the house.

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. The RLA was the only organisation intervening on behalf of private sector landlords, with no other landlord association or lettings agents getting involved in the complex case.

David Smith, policy director at the RLA, said: “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.”

“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.”

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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