The Court of Appeal recently considered, in two different cases, whether occupiers of housing association properties should be subject to an immediate order for possession or a suspended order for possession (SPO), when in both instances the police had found that the properties were used to cultivate a number of cannabis plants.

In both instances the Court of Appeal upheld the decision to grant SPOs rather than order the tenants to give up possession, despite the clear illegal use of both premises.

The Court set out guidance on what factors should be considered when determining whether to make an order for possession against housing association tenants, which are:

1. The evidence that is required to show the tenant will comply with the terms of the tenancy in the future must be more than simply credible, it must be persuasive. 

2. The resources of the housing association will need to be considered in terms of whether imposing conditions in the SPO such as inspections by the housing association will be relevant to determining the strength of the evidence referred to in point 1 above.

3. Dishonesty on the part of the tenant in respect of their conduct will not necessarily mean there is insufficient evidence the tenant will not comply with the obligations in the tenancy going forward.

4. The decision whether to grant an SPO or not is a two stage process that requires the exercise of judicial discretion and the finding of facts upon which that discretion is exercised. 

When considering an application for possession, the Court must consider the future conduct of the tenant, not just the tenant’s wrongdoing that forms the basis of the application.

If you have any queries please contact our Social Housing team





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William Scott

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Posted on 05/12/2016 in BWB Publications

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