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R v H (2008)

Summary

Although the occupiers of shared accommodation where the landlord was resident could not have, as their written agreement purported, an assured shorthold tenancy, the agreement nevertheless created a contract, and they were thus residential occupiers entitled to the protection of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Facts

The appellant Crown appealed against a Crown Court decision that the respondent landlord (H) was not guilty of doing acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of residential occupiers.

The complainants (O) had rented a room in a house where H lived as a resident landlord. The written agreement purported to be for a six-month assured shorthold tenancy. After less than three months, H gave O one month's notice to vacate. When that period expired, she allegedly committed a number of acts aimed at causing O to give up their residential occupation at the house. She was charged with six breaches of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 s.1(3A)(a). The judge found that, despite what the agreement said, O were licensees. Since that meant they were not residential occupiers within the meaning of Protection from Eviction Act 1977 s.1(1), H had not committed an offence under Protection from Eviction Act 1977 s.1(3A)(a).

Held

Whilst O did not have an assured shorthold tenancy because they shared the accommodation and H was resident on the premises, it did not follow that the agreement did not create a contract. That contract gave them a right of occupation for six months and it followed that, for the purposes of Protection from Eviction Act 1977 s.1(1), O were residential occupiers entitled to the protection of the 1977 Act.

Appeal allowed

Court of Appeal
Sir Igor Judge (President QB), Davis J, David Clarke J
Judgment date
13 February 2008
References

​LTL 8/4/2008 

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