The Court of Appeal has held that the Housing Act 1988 Sch 2 Ground 14A (domestic violence) applies even if the violence which caused the victim to leave the property took place when the couple were no longer living together.

Mr H was the assured tenant of a property which he shared with his wife and children. Following a history of domestic violence against his family, Mr H left the property and the couple separated. However, the violence continued after the separation and eventually Mrs H left the property with the children. Mr H then moved back in.

When the landlord discovered that Mr H had returned to live there, it served a Notice Seeking Possession on him relying on ground 14A which provides a discretionary ground for possession where '...the dwelling house was occupied...by a...couple...and...one partner has left...because of violence or threats of violence by the other...and the partner who has left is unlikely to return'. Possession proceedings were subsequently issued.

In the county court the trial judge held that ground 14A only applied where a couple were living together in the dwelling immediately before the victim of the violence left. He further held that if his construction of ground 14A was wrong then he would have found that it was reasonable to make an outright possession order.

The landlord appealed successfully to the Court of Appeal, which found that it was not necessary for the parties to the relationship to be living together at the time of the violence that caused the victim to leave. The ground for possession was made out and the question of reasonableness remitted back to the county court.

Metropolitan Housing Trust v Hadjazi (2010) EWCA Civ 750