Q&As

Where spouses have a joint tenancy with a local authority, how can the one spouse stop the other spouse from serving notice to quit or giving up the tenancy and what would the effect on the spouse be if the other spouse succeeded in serving notice to quit?

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Produced in partnership with Christi Scarborough of 42 Bedford Row
Published on LexisPSL on 09/05/2018

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Christi Scarborough of 42 Bedford Row provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where spouses have a joint tenancy with a local authority, how can the one spouse stop the other spouse from serving notice to quit or giving up the tenancy and what would the effect on the spouse be if the other spouse succeeded in serving notice to quit?

At common law, notice by any secure tenant is sufficient to determine a joint tenancy. In practice, this may mean that where one party leaves a family home held under the terms of a joint secure tenancy, they can unilaterally terminate the tenancy, leaving the resident party without security of tenure. Such notice will be effective even if there is an injunction in place preventing the party giving notice from excluding the other party from the premises.

The Supreme Court considered whether this is a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and/or under Article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention in Sims v Dacorum BC. It considered that the unilateral severance of a joint tenancy by a single joint tenant was proportionate because this was a situation where any solution would necessarily involve a detriment to either landlord or tenant. A properly issued notice will thus be effective to terminate the tenancy, although it will always be worth checking that the appropriate formalities such as length of notice have been complied with. The effect of this would be that the remaining tenant would lose their secure status an

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