In this case our housing association client evicted a tenant after months of sustained anti-social behaviour which caused untold misery to many residents.
The tenant in question regularly held parties which caused an elderly and infirm neighbour to be a prisoner in her own home. Following one gathering, during which a fight broke out in the communal areas of the development causing injury to those involved, the association applied for an injunction which was granted without notice.
Before the case came back before the Court, the association issued a Warrant of Possession in relation to separate rent arrears proceedings. This followed the granting by the court of a Postponed Possession Order whereby the association had applied for and been given a date for possession. When the time came for execution of the warrant, the arrears had been paid by the defendant’s parents. The defendant made an application to suspend the warrant, which the association, relying on the case of Sheffield City Council -v- Hopkins opposed due to the other issue of the anti-social behaviour.
The rent arrears case and the injunction proceedings case were consolidated and came before the court for trial at the end of June. The Judge did not hesitate in ordering that the warrant should not be suspended and that the eviction should proceed. He also granted the association an injunction excluding the defendant from the development where she still lives.
Dot Pawlowski, associate at Cobbetts comments: “This was an excellent result for neighbours who had had to endure continuous anti-social behaviour from the defendant, who simply did not accept that she was doing anything wrong. This was particularly distressing for residents, as many were elderly and/or unwell.”
If social landlords obtain a suspended Possession Order they can, in certain circumstances, apply for possession in simple trespass proceedings following the case of London and Quadrant Housing Trust -v- Ansell. In that case a suspended Possession Order could not be enforced, as the defendant had cleared her rent arrears, and the order stated that when the defendant had paid these, the trust would not be able to take any steps to evict the defendant. The trust therefore sought possession on the grounds that the defendant occupied her property as a trespasser (because of the suspended Possession Order the defendant was technically a trespasser from the date that the order had been made). The court held that the trust could start possession proceedings against the defendant for trespass and that there would be no defence to this claim.