Tanya Jones successfully appeals against a possession order resulting in the claim being dismissed.

Tanya Jones was instructed on behalf of the Appellant in an appeal where it was averred the court had erred in its decision to grant the Respondent possession.

The grounds of appeal were firstly that the notice to quit, entitling the court to make an order in favour of the Respondent for possession of the Appellant’s property, was defective. Secondly, the Respondent had acted unlawfully and in breach of s15, s35 and s149 of the Equality Act 2020, and as a result, had discriminated against the Appellant.

The Respondent submitted that the notice to quit served on the Appellant contained a clause which allowed the Respondent to serve less than 28 days’ notice in cases involving anti-social behaviour. Further submissions were made that the instructing solicitor during the first hearing did not raise a possible equality act defence, he only stated a possible public law defence.

Tanya submitted that the licence of the Appellant was protected by section 5 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, and the notice to quit must be given not less than 4 weeks before the date on which it is to take effect. Further, Birmingham City Council v Stephenson [2016] EWCA Civ 1029 sets out a procedure that should be followed in considering a defence under the Equality Act 2010. Whilst it was not specially mentioned within the first hearing that an equality act defence needed to be explored, the documentation put forward from the Respondent made it clear they knew of the Appellant’s disability and previous mental health issues.

The Judge was satisfied the notice to quit served by the Respondent was defective and held this ground of appeal was successful, and the claim should be dismissed. Further the Judge found this was a case where the causative link between the mental health disability alleged and the breaches of the licence should have been properly analysed. It was held that the District Judge should have given directions rather than to dismiss that defence or any public law defence, which led to the possession order being granted in the first instance.

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