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European Court of Human Rights accused of "meddling" in UK housing market

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European Court of Human Rights accused of "meddling" in UK housing market

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal, Regulation

Tenancy Agreement Tenancy Agreement

The Residential Landlord Association (RLA) has accused the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) of "meddling" with the UK's housing market.

The accusation has been provoked by a case currently before the ECHR's Courts of Appeal, that could decide the future rules for shorthold tenancies.

Currently, shorthold tenancies give residents a minimum tenancy with protection against excessive rents but also give landlords the right to vacant possession once the tenancy has ended.

The ECHR has already decided that council and housing association tenancies are subject to Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which reads: (1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence, and (2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The case, to be heard in January by the Court of Appeal, is an appeal against a County Court Judge’s decision that the same rules will apply to the private sector.

The RLA claims that if the appeal is dismissed and the original judgement upheld, landlords will have to "jump through many more hoops to regain possession of their properties".

The Association further claims that such a judgement will "give unscrupulous tenants who fail to pay their rent, do untold damage to their property or cause problems in the community they live in the opportunity to delay being evicted".

Richard Jones, the RLA’s policy director and solicitor, said: "This is a major threat to private landlords and tenants. It is a myth to suggest that landlords always want their properties back; instead they want a stable rental income. Government statistics show that only 6% of tenancies are ended by landlords anyway.

"The shorthold is an effective way of a landlord re-claiming their property where a tenant is committing antisocial behaviour that blights the lives of their neighbours as well as where they fail to pay their rents.

"If Europe decides that respect for the home provisions within the Human Rights Convention apply to private landlords this will lead to a mass exodus of landlords, causing untold misery for those in desperate need of a place to live."

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