Last week, the NHF published its final version of its new Code of Governance and made some important changes from the previous draft that will impact on those housing associations looking to adopt it.
The County Court at Bristol held in Camelot v Greg Roynon  that a tenancy had been granted.
The judgment looked carefully at whether ‘exclusive possession’ was given in the agreement and the reality of the situation on the ground. There was no clause in the agreement that enabled Camelot to move a guardian from room to room or that required a guardian to allow Camelot staff into their room. The guardians had never been asked to move rooms in three years, and approximately monthly inspections were actually just visual inspections from standing in the doorway.
A County Court case is, of course, not binding, but only persuasive on other courts. However, this was a significant case that was fully argued on this specific issue. The Judgment is available to read here.
RPs should check their own contracts with property guardian companies and the licences they issue. More importantly, they should seek assurance that the guardian companies are acting in practice as if the occupiers are licensees, rather than tenants, as this is the point on which Camelot lost the case.
If the occupiers are, in the worst case scenario, deemed to be assured shorthold tenants, then a section 21 notice can be served and possession proceedings issued if needed. However, this causes at least a three-month delay. The costs of having to take possession action should be recoverable from the guardian property company under your contracts.
For more information
If you would like us to review your contracts and the licence agreements in use, or for more information on property guardians, please contact Helen Tucker.
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