The RLA could intervene for a second time in a high profile repossession case that could have far reaching implications for the PRS.
In the case of McDonald v McDonald receivers acting for a bank repossessed a property from a defaulting private sector landlord using a section 21 notice served on the landlords behalf in their capacity as receivers.
The landlord’s daughter, who has mental health problems, was living in the property and has attempted to invoke Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to respect for private and family life and home – to avoid being evicted.
Her bid failed at the Supreme Court – which ruled that rights to a private and family life should not get in the way of legitimate cases where landlords and mortgage lenders need to reclaim possession of a rented home.
However, she now plans to appeal the decision at the European Court of Human Rights. While this will not affect her personal situation as the ECtHR has no power to keep her in the property it could substantially alter the legal position in England & Wales.
The RLA was granted permission to intervene at the Supreme Court to explain the precedent the ruling could set.
In a written submission it said that if the court found in favour of tenant it would seriously undermine existing Section 21 legislation and give tenants the opportunity to raise spurious defences under Article 8 in order to delay possession proceedings.
The association believes that if the mandatory process becomes discretionary it will make it more difficult and expensive for landlords to evict tenants.
RLA policy director David Smith said: “We intervened in this case at the Supreme Court and are keeping a close eye on its progress.
“If the appeal had been allowed by the Supreme Court it would have completely undermined the ability of landlords to reclaim possession of their property at the end of a tenancy and opened the door to tenants who might to remain in a property based on situations of which the landlord was entirely unaware.
“Given the great importance of this case and the fact that the landlord is unlikely to now be involved we may intervene again and will be considering an appropriate response if we deem it necessary.”