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COUNTY COURT JUDGE CASTS DOUBT ON 'VALIDITY UNTIL CHALLENGED' OF LOCAL AUTHORITY DECISIONS

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Merton LBC is challenging a Croydon county court judge's ruling setting aside an order for possession of council pr...
Merton LBC is challenging a Croydon county court judge's ruling setting aside an order for possession of council premises which had been let under an introductory tenancy.

Overturning the possession order, Judge Ellis held in the county court that neither the council's notice of possession proceedings nor its subsequent review decision appeared to give adequate reasons.

Also he found that there had been no attempt to justify the eviction as being necessary and proportionate in the light of the outstanding claim for housing benefit.

The council sought possession of the premises three months after the commencement of the tenancy on the grounds of arrears of rent totalling£690 and the fact that the tenant had failed to take up possession of the premises.

The tenant claimed he had got into arrears as he had been denied housing benefit although the court was told that benefit had been refused because he had been unable to persuade the housing benefit arm of the council that he had taken up possession of the premises.

In the court of appeal Merton LBC argued that to require a local authority to provide written and oral evidence of decision making processes before they are under challenge creates an unnecessary and undesirable burden for the local authority and was inconsistent with the presumption that local authority decision were valid until challenged.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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