Cases on the Rent Act 1977 do not come up so often these days. Under that Act a person with protection starts out, under the contractual tenancy, as a “protected tenant”. If the landlord wishes to recover possession the landlord must determine the protected tenancy by a notice to quit (assuming that it is a periodic tenancy). This then gives rise to a statutory tenancy. The landlord will only be entitled to possession if he can prove a ground for possession. However, the statutory tenancy only continues for so long as the tenant occupies the property “as [her] residence”: in effect, as her home (s2(1)(a) of the Rent Act 1977). Whether or not the tenant has continued to occupy the property as her residence has been described as “a jury question to be determined by applying ordinary common sense” (Beck v Scholz [1953] 1 QB 570, Evershed MR at 575).

In this case the defendant was in fact a statutory tenant by succession but the same principles apply. The landlord contended that she had ceased to occupy the dwelling as her home and so had ceased to be a statutory tenant.

The tenant contended that the behaviour of a new neighbour had been so upsetting that she was “driven out”. Thereafter she spent a considerable amount of time at a friend’s house some five to ten minutes’ walk away. She took her meals there, took baths there and washed her clothes there. However, the judge found that the dwelling was still her home and ... Please login or signup to continue reading this content