SOUTHWARK LBC -V- AUGUSTUS
The defendant was a secure tenant who had accrued some rent arrears. As a result, the Southwark LBC (the Council) obtained a suspended possession order. The defendant breached the terms of this order and consequently, the claimant applied for a warrant for possession.
The defendant failed to open a letter notifying her of the date of eviction and the warrant was executed without her knowledge whilst she was at work.
The Judge decided the claimant had acted too aggressively in the first instance of the order being breached and set aside execution of the warrant.
Where the claimant was a public authority, as in this case, the Court was entitled to consider public law issues. The claimant had failed to have regard to its own rent arrears policy, stating that eviction should only be used as a last resort, and not as a first option.
The defendant worked and was making attempts to make payment. At the date of the request for the warrant, the arrears stood at £274. The Court considered that the claimant should have used an attachment of earnings order initially and followed its own policy.