Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2003] All ER (D) 236 (Feb)
Neutral Citation: [2003] EWHC 222 (Admin)
Court: Administrative Court
Judge:

Crane J

Representation Jamie Burton (instructed by Jockleson McNulty & Co) for the claimant.
  Kerry Bretherton (instructed by Jeffrey Lustig) for the defendant authority.
Judgment Dates: 18 February 2003

Catchwords

Housing - Local authority housing - Introductory tenancy - Decision to seek possession - Review procedure - s 128.The defendant local housing authority, by a tenancy agreement dated 3 March 2000, granted an introductory tenancy to the claimant tenant, to commence on 20 March 2000. On 13 October 2000, the authority served a notice on the tenant, pursuant to s 128 of the stating that they intended to apply to the court to make an order requiring the tenant to give up possession on the grounds that he had failed to observe or perform an obligation of the introductory tenancy, namely that the premises were being used for selling of drugs and for immoral purposes. The notice indicated that proceedings would not be begun until after 13 November. The tenant requested a review. On 23 October the authority wrote that it had decided not to proceed with terminating the tenancy, but to monitor the situation. By a letter dated 9 March 2001, the authority wrote to the tenant stating that the office was continuing to receive complaints about the noise and disturbance around the flat and therefore the authority had no alternative but to apply for a possession order. At the hearing in the county court, the recorder rejected the tenant's primary argument that the court had no jurisdiction to grant an order for possession. The tenant appealed against that determination and also applied for judicial review to quash the decision of the authority to seek possession. The judge directed that both matters be heard together. The tenant submitted that s 128(3) required that the notice of proceedings should set out the reasons for the 'landlord's decision to apply' for an order, and that as the effect of the review letter was that the original decision to take proceedings was not confirmed, but indeed was reversed, there was in existence no decision to take proceedings. He argued that the relevant decision had been the March decision and no valid notice had been served in relation to that decision.

The Case

Section128(3) of the required that the notice of proceedings should set out the reasons for the 'landlord's decision to apply' for an order. Therefore, where the effect of the review letter was that the original decision to take proceedings was not confirmed, but indeed was reversed, there was in existence no decision to take proceedings and the County Court had no jurisdiction to make an order for possession in the absence of a further notice of proceedings.

Practice Areas

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