Brynmor Adams secures important High Court victory for housing co-operatives

17th July 2015

In Southward Housing Co-operative Limited v Walker [2015] EWHC 1615 (Ch), the claimant landlord obtained a possession order and set an important precedent for fully-mutual housing co-operatives. Hildyard J’s judgment provides important clarification of the law in relation to tenancies of uncertain duration.   Such tenancies can take effect as contractual licences in accordance with their express terms and are not necessarily converted into 90-year leases in accordance with Mexfield v Berrisford [2011] UKSC 52.  This conclusion will provide increased legal certainty for the large number of housing co-operatives that use the model tenancy agreement.

The judgment also disposes of a wide-range of public law defences that are frequently raised against housing co-operatives.  The High Court concluded that Southward was not a public authority, that an Article 8 defence could not be raised and that the exclusion of co-operaitves from security of tenure was not discriminatory under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.