Published: Fri, 12 Oct 2018
Burrows v Brent LBC  4 All ER 57
Secured tenancy; claim for possession; agreement reached allowing tenant to remain on terms; whether agreement created new tenancy
Ms Burrows was a secured tenant in a flat owned by the council. She fell behind with her rent and the council successfully obtained a possession order. Prior to the order being put into effect, the council agreed with Ms Burrows that they would not evict her if she made certain payments to reduce the arrears. She failed to make these payments and was evicted. Ms Burrows sought to claim damages for wrongful eviction.
Ms Burrows claimed the agreement she reached with the council whereby she would make payments to reduce the rent arrears operated to create a new tenancy by operation of law. As such the order for possession which the council had obtained would be ineffective as against this new tenancy and she had, therefore, been wrongly evicted. The council argued the agreement was merely an agreement not to evict her providing she met certain conditions regarding the reduction of the rent arrears. It was not intended to create a new tenancy, and the secured tenancy terminated on the day the order required her to give up possession, and not when it was actually surrendered, under s82 Housing Act 1985.
The agreement made between the council and Ms Burrows to reduce the rent arrears did not operate to create a new tenancy. An agreement not to enforce a possession order whether there are conditions attached to it or not, would not create a lease or a license and, therefore the possession order was validly executed, and Ms Burrows had not been wrongly evicted.
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