• In Kay v Lambeth LBC [2006] 2 AC 465 the House of Lords held that possession proceedings brought against tenants, by the council, does not contravene Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). They also stated that the tenants had no interests binding on the claimants (possessors), as they had a Bruton lease with a housing Trust before the Trust had a lease over the properties.
  • Note: a Bruton lease is that as established in Bruton v London and Quadrant Housing Trust [2000] 1 AC 406, whereby a licensee of a premises enters into a lease agreement with tenants over the premises of which they are a licensee.

Facts of the case

  • Lambeth (C) council gave Quadrant Housing Trust (Q) a licence over a number of council homes. With this licence, Q sought to enter into tenancy agreements with homeless people, to give them accommodation.
  • Pursuant to Bruton v London and Quadrant Housing Trust [2000], this lease existed between the tenants and the licensee of the properties, and was non-proprietary, in that it did not bind the council.
  • This licence then became a lease between C and Q.
  • C revoked the lease against the Trust, and thereby initiated possession proceedings against the defendant tenants.
  • The defendants argued that the council, in seeking possession proceedings were in contravention of the defendants’ Article 8 ECHR right, which was the right to a family home.
  • The defendants also argued that they became tenants of the council during the time between the termination of the licence and the grant of the lease to Q, or when the lease with Q was revoked.

Issues in Kay v Lambeth LBC [2006]

  • As one can infer from the above, the issues in the present case were two fold.
  1. Whether the possession proceedings brought against the defendants impinged Article 8 ECHR.
  • Whether the tenants became tenants of the C’s directly as a consequence of the licence changing to a lease between C and Q.

House of Lords held:

  • C was successful in its possession claim against the defendants.
  1. A public authority has a right to enforce a claim for possession under the law in England and Wales, and this prima facie prescribes a sufficient justification under Article 8 (2) for any incursions upon Article 8 ECHR.
  • It was also held that the tenants were not tenants nor sub tenants of the council, on the basis that there was Bruton lease between the tenants and the Trust prior to the granting of a lease of the property from the council to the Trust. Therefore, the tenants had no interest capable of binding the council anyway.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill:

  • [495] “The practical position, in future, in possession proceedings can be briefly summarised as follows: (1) It is not necessary for a local authority to plead or prove in every case that domestic law complies with article 8. Courts should proceed on the assumption that domestic law strikes a fair balance and is compatible with article 8.
  • [498] “But it is clear that under domestic property law the appellants have no right to occupy their respective premises, of which the local authority has an unqualified right to possession. The appellants fall outside the categories to which Parliament has extended a measure of protection. The local authority has no duty to accommodate the appellants, but has a power and duty to manage its housing stock. The appellants have not pleaded or alleged facts which give them a special claim to remain. I am satisfied that if these cases were remitted, possession orders would necessarily be made. I would accordingly, although for reasons differing from those of the Court of Appeal, dismiss these appeals.”