Or spousal rights after notice to quit served by joint tenant.
Derwent Housing Association Limited v Taylor, Court of Appeal (Civ Div) 19 January 2016 (unreported as far as I can see, apart from this note by Shoosmiths, for which we are suitably grateful).
Derwent HA were Mrs T’s landlord, on a sole assured tenancy. Mrs and Mr T lived in the property as the matrimonial home. She left in 2013 and in February 2014 served a notice to quit (allegedly defective), Derwent accepted as terminating the tenancy. Mr T remained and defended possession proceedings when issued by Derwent. At first instance, Mr T lost.
On appeal, Mr T argued:
- Under s.30(4) Family Law Act 1996 his continued occupation was to be treated as occupation by Mrs Taylor as tenant;
- The scheme under the Act gave effect to his rights under Article 1 (protection of property) and 8 (right to respect for privacy of family life and home) of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Derwent was under a positive obligation to protect Mr Taylor’s enjoyment of these rights and an order for possession would violate them.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
Mrs T’s notice was a sufficient in common law to end the tenancy.
S.30 Family Law Act only applied where there was a continuing entitlement to occupy, not when that entitlement had been ended. There was no occupation or tenancy of Mrs T for Mr T to base continuing s.30 rights on.
No ECHR violation.
No huge surprise here. Get those FLA 1996 injunctions in before any NTQ by the departed spouse…