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Metropolitan Housing Trust v Hadjazi [2010] EWCA Civ 750; [2010] WLR (D) 167: Landlord & Tenant

Written by Inam Ali on 16 September 2010

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Background

A property was let to the defendant tenant, Djil Ali Hadjazi, under an assured tenancy by Metropolitan Housing Trust, a registered social landlord. The tenancy was subject to the rules of the Housing Act 1988.

The tenant had carried out domestic violence or had threatened violence against his wife, and this continued after the husband had left the dwelling house to live temporarily elsewhere. He continued to be violent towards them until they left the property, when he returned to live there on his own.

Metropolitan Housing Trust applied to the County Court for a possession order against the tenant, under ground 14A in Pt II of Sch 2 to the Housing Act 1988 which provides:

"The dwelling-house was occupied (whether alone or with others) by a married couple, a couple who are civil partners of each other, a couple living together as husband and wife or a couple living together as if they were civil partners and-

(a) one or both of the partners is a tenant of the dwelling-house,

(b) the landlord who is seeking possession is a registered social landlord or a charitable housing trust,

(c) one partner has left the dwelling-house because of violence or threats of violence by the other towards- (i) that partner, or (ii) a member of the family of that partner who was residing with that partner immediately before the partner left, and

(d) the court is satisfied that the partner who has left is unlikely to return."

The County Court Judge had dismissed Metropolitan Housing Trust's application for a possession order under the above ground. The judge held that ground 14A only applied where the violence or threats of violence occurred while the tenant and his wife were living together in the property as a couple, and that, since the effective violence and threats occurred after they had ceased to live together, ground 14A did not apply.

Metropolitan Housing Trust appealed the County Court judgement.

Held

Lord Justice Mummery held that there was no ambiguity in the wording of ground 14A in Pt II of Sch 2 to the Housing Act 1988, which could be interpreted so as to favour the party which had been violent or threatening towards the other party to the relationship, thereby causing the other party to leave the property in which they had lived together.

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