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Court of Appeal backs housing provider in family eviction case

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Court of Appeal backs housing provider in family eviction case

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

Court of Appeal backs housing provider in family eviction case Court of Appeal backs housing provider in family eviction case

A housing provider has been backed by the Court of Appeal in its bid to evict the family of a convicted drug dealer from a Birmingham property.

Friendship Care and Housing, which owns and manages more than 4,600 properties across the East and West Midlands, says the decision sets a "precedent" for other housing associations facing similar challenges.

Friendship’s solicitor Dorota Pawlowski, of Trowers and Hamlin LLP, said: “Had this appeal succeeded, we would have been left in the unsavoury position whereby parents could rely on the fact that they have children to defeat a Possession Order.

“While the existence of children – and what their fate may be if their parents are made the subject of such an Order – are factors to be taken into consideration, the Court of Appeal’s decision sends a clear message that children are not shields to hide behind.”

Friendship began taking steps to repossess the home some time ago as a result of criminal activity at the property, when tenant Sajid Qasim was jailed in 2010 for four-and-a-half years for possession of Class A drugs (namely heroin, methadone, crack cocaine, crack and cannabis) with intent to supply.

Qasim’s wife Hameeda Begum was a joint tenant in the Herrick Road property in the Saltley area of the city, where they lived with their seven children.

Michelle Walters, Friendship’s Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, said: “In signing the tenancy agreement, both Qasim and Begum agreed to be held jointly responsible for all activity carried out in the home as well as the behaviour of everyone living in or visiting the property.

“We have been working closely with West Midlands Police for some time tackling the ongoing anti-social behaviour and breaches of the tenancy agreement and it was our decision to evict the family based firmly on their history.”

Sergeant Dave Wilson, who led the investigation in 2010, said: “Drugs have a detrimental effect on communities which is why removing them from our streets is our top priority.  

“Tackling the issue of drugs in our neighbourhoods is more complex than simply making arrests.  That is why our No Deal initiative, named by the community themselves, sees us working hand-in-hand with partner agencies such as Friendship to reduce crime and make sure our residents feel safe.

“We will use every power available to us to prevent drugs activity from ruining peoples’ lives.”

Begum argued that the eviction went against the interests of her children and that the county court judge who originally granted the Order had acted “irrationally”.

But having considered the evidence, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of His Honour Judge Worster.

In refusing the appeal Lord Justice Hooper said: “There were serious breaches of the tenancy agreement, seriously affecting the neighbourhood and those living there.”

He ruled that “no sound basis for hope that the previous conduct would cease” was sufficient evidence to see Friendship’s former tenants evicted from their home.

Ms Pawlowski added: “Registered housing providers across the UK should take heart from this outcome.

“Friendship Care and Housing has set a precedent which will strengthen the case for other housing providers making a stand against the minority of tenants whose behaviour has a demonstrably adverse affect on the quality of life of their neighbours and the community as a whole.”

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