Proportionality defences and private landlords

13 Mar 2019 | Comment

Back in 2014 and again in 2016 we reported on the various court decisions in McDonald v McDonald; in late 2018, the case reached the European Court of Human Rights as FJM v UK, App no 76202/16.

Possession sought by a private landlord

The case concerned a young woman who suffered from a mental disorder. Her parents purchased a property with a loan secured by a charge. They granted their daughter an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). The payments on the loan fell into arrears, the lender appointed a receiver who served a Section 21 notice and sought possession. M defended on the basis that the court should consider the proportionality of seeking possession. The case was dismissed at all levels in the UK court system on the basis that a proportionality defence is not available in a case where possession is sought by a private landlord.

Article 8 – breach of rights

M complained to the European Court on the basis that her article 8 rights had been breached because the proportionality of the eviction had never been considered. The complaint was inadmissible – a residential tenant cannot require the court to consider the proportionality of an eviction sought by a private landlord.

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