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When is a spouse a spouse? We’ll find out


Just a note on a permission to appeal hearing:

Northumberland & Durham Property Trust Ltd v Ouaha [2013] EWCA Civ 291 [Not on Bailii yet, noted in the Garden Court Bulletin]

A Rent Act tenant died in November 2010. The other occupant was his 16 year old son. The son’s mother, Ms Ouaha claimed to have succeeded to the tenancy under Schedule 1 para 1 Rent Act 1977, though she did not live with the tenant and his son. She claimed to be the ‘surviving spouse of the original tenant’

At first instance, her claim was dismissed on the grounds that she and the tenant had not been married, in a sense that would be acknowledged as such under matrimonial legislation. Ms O appealed and the Court of Appeal granted permission on the basis that it was at least arguable that ‘spouse’ had a wider meaning in the Rent Act. Full appeal later in the year.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. Solicitor London

    In this case it is quite clear that this woman is just trying to take advantage of the situation, since she was not even living with them. However, I agree with the fact that, in case of real relationships, partners should have similar rights as spouses in certain situations

    • Giles Peaker

      Solicitor London

      I am disappointed that as a self proclaimed solicitor you feel able to come to such a definite conclusion without having seen evidence or argument on the point. Does that work out in family practice for you? By the way, I’ve removed the link to the firm that you added, not least as you don’t actually seem to work there as a solicitor, so as to save embarassment (yours and theirs).


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