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Solihull v Hickin and Thurrock v West in action: Article 8 and “second successors”

In Kensington and Chelsea RBC v Kent & ors, District Judge Sheldon, applying Thurrock v West, found that a local authority's claim for possession against "second successors" did not constitute a breach of article 8, notwithstanding the personal circumstances of the Defendants.

The property had been a family home for 30 years. The Second Defendant, the daughter of the original tenants, had cared for both of her parents through severe illnesses, since the age of 18. After the death of her father, she lived at the property with her partner and two sons. She also cared for her two brothers. DJ Sheldon observed of her that "the world needs more people like you."

The family had been badly affected by the parents' illnesses and deaths. The Third Defendant, the tenants' son, also long resident at the property, suffered from a serious personality disorder with psychotic symptoms. There was medical evidence that he was at risk of suicide if evicted.

The other brother suffered from schizophrenia. He lived in residential accommodation but visited and stayed with his sister and brother at the property. There was medical evidence that these visits were critical to his long-term recovery.

There was no under occupation. The Claimant accepted that the Defendants would be owed the main homelessness duty once evicted.

DJ Sheldon applied Thurrock v West, holding:

• He could not rewrite the Claimant's allocation policy

• The court could not compare the Defendants' housing needs with those of other households on the housing register, because evidence of those cases was not before the court

• The observations of Lord Neuberger in Pinnock at [64] did not apply in this case, as the Claimant was offering assurances about rehousing in temporary accommodation

• As much as he wanted to help the Defendants, it was impossible to accede to their Article 8 defence, since that would usurp the Claimant's function of allocating its housing stock

Matt Hutchings acted for Kensington and Chelsea RBC in the West London County Court on 6 December 2012