Landlord entitled to evict disabled tenant over anti-social behaviour

A housing association was entitled to evict a disabled tenant even though it had failed to comply with its public sector equality duty (PSED) under the Equality Act 2010.

That was the decision of the Court of Appeal in a case involving Aldwyck Housing Group Ltd.

One of its tenants, who was physically disabled, had been given a formal warning about the anti-social behaviour of various visitors to his flat. The police had also found drugs and drug-dealing paraphernalia at the premises.

Despite the warning, Aldwyck continued to receive complaints from the tenant’s neighbours. It issued a claim for possession on the grounds that he was in breach of the obligations of the tenancy agreement and guilty of conduct causing a nuisance to persons residing nearby.

By the time of the trial, it accepted that it had failed to comply with the PSED under the Equality Act.

The district judge held that the tenancy agreement had been breached and rejected the tenant's claim that he had been discriminated against because of his disability. She considered the breach of the PSED but rejected it as a defence to the making of the possession order.

She added that, even if it had provided a defence, she would still have rejected it because the possession order was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

The case went all the way to Court of Appeal, which upheld the judge’s decision. It held that there was no general rule that, if there was a breach of the PSED, any decision taken after such breach had to be quashed.

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