Q&As

Can a landlord recover possession (on health and safety grounds or otherwise) of a residential building (comprising one assured shorthold tenancy (AST) flat and the remaining flats are occupied by squatters) where it has fallen into severe disrepair (which is not necessarily the fault of the occupiers) and requires repossession to be able to refurbish it?

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Published on LexisPSL on 30/01/2019

The following Property Disputes Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a landlord recover possession (on health and safety grounds or otherwise) of a residential building (comprising one assured shorthold tenancy (AST) flat and the remaining flats are occupied by squatters) where it has fallen into severe disrepair (which is not necessarily the fault of the occupiers) and requires repossession to be able to refurbish it?

This question raises the circumstances in which an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) can be brought to an end by the landlord. The landlord has to obtain an order of the court and execute it by obtaining a warrant of possession. That order can be obtained either under sections 7 or 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (HA 1988).

The focus of this Q&A is upon orders obtained under HA 1988, s 7. That section sets out a number of grounds set out in HA 1988, Sch 2, Pt I, upon which possession may be sought. Depending upon which ground is relied on, if a court is satisfied that it has been established it either must make an order for possession or may do so if it considers it reasonable to do so.

If there is a clause in the tenancy requiring the tenant to keep the property in repair, then a breach of it would likely cause a court to be satisfied that ground 12 has arisen (namely, any obligation of the tenancy, other than one related to the payment of rent, has been broken or not performed). This is one of the grounds w

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