Landlord wins appeal over tenant's breaches of agreement
A landlord has won its appeal against a court ruling that a man who had made alterations to his flat and upset neighbours had not breached his tenancy agreement.
The case involved a tenant who suffered with a paranoid personality disorder. He moved into the flat with his two dogs.
He made various changes to the property, including alterations to the gas flue and kitchen, installing CCTV and fencing the garden. He believed he had permission to carry out these changes.
The landlord received complaints from the neighbouring tenants about loud music and dog fouling.
It served notice seeking possession on the basis that the alterations and the nuisance caused to neighbours breached the tenancy agreement.
The judge found that the tenant did not have permission to make the adjustments to the property, but his honest belief that he did, meant that they did not qualify as a “relevant breach” of the agreement.
He also found that the dog fouling and the tenant's "aggressive, threatening and intimidating" behaviour were not relevant breaches. He dismissed the evidence relating to the loud music.
He ruled that although there was evidence of some limited breaches, it would not be reasonable to order possession.
The case went to the Court of Appeal, which ruled in favour of the landlord. It held that the tenant’s belief that he was entitled to carry out alterations was not a defence to a claim for a breach of the tenancy agreement.
The judge had failed to make sufficient findings of fact and so the landlord’s possession claim was remitted for retrial.
Please contact Janice Young if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of property law.