Manchester City Council v Pinnock (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government intervening)

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeLord Justice Stanley Burnton,Lord Justice Lloyd,Lord Justice Mummery
Judgment Date31 July 2009
Neutral Citation[2009] EWCA Civ 852
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date31 July 2009
Docket NumberCase No: B5/2009/0187

[2009] EWCA Civ 852




HH Judge Holman

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL


Lord Justice Mummery

Lord Justice Lloyd and

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton

Case No: B5/2009/0187


Manchester City Council
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Richard Drabble QC and James Stark (instructed by Platt Halpern) for the Appellant

Andrew Arden QC and Jonathan Manning (instructed by Susan Orrell, City Solicitor) for the Respondent

Daniel Stilitz (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor for the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Hearing date: 15 July 2009

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton



The Appellant, Cleveland Pinnock, appeals against the order made by His Honour Judge Holman on 22 December 2008 in Manchester County Court requiring him to give up possession of the property at 65 Meldon Road (“the property”) in Longsight of which he had been the tenant of the Respondent local authority for some 30 years. At that date, the Appellant was a demoted tenant of the property, and the order for possession was made pursuant to section 143D of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”)


The appeal raises questions of general importance as to the jurisdiction of the County Court on a claim for possession of a property that is the subject of a demoted tenancy, and of the matters to be taken into account by a landlord of a demoted tenancy when deciding whether to seek possession, and by a court that is asked to review that decision.

The statutory framework


Most tenants of local authorities (and the other landlords listed in section 80 of the Housing Act 1985) are secure tenants. Apart from cases where there is an offer of suitable alternative accommodation, their landlords cannot obtain possession without establishing specified grounds for possession (see Schedule 2 to that Act) and that it is reasonable to make an order for possession; and the court has wide powers under section 85 to adjourn the proceedings or to make an order for possession suspended on prescribed conditions, for example as to the payment of arrears of rent.


The statutory provisions relating to demoted tenancies were introduced by the 2003 Act by amendment to the Housing Act 1985 and the Housing Act 1996. Section 82A of the 1985 Act is, so far as relevant, as follows:

82A Demotion because of anti-social behaviour

(1) This section applies to a secure tenancy if the landlord is—

(a) a local housing authority;

(b) a housing action trust;

(c) a registered social landlord.

(2) The landlord may apply to a county court for a demotion order.

(3) A demotion order has the following effect—

(a) the secure tenancy is terminated with effect from the date specified in the order;

(b) if the tenant remains in occupation of the dwelling-house after that date a demoted tenancy is created with effect from that date;

(c) it is a term of the demoted tenancy that any arrears of rent payable at the termination of the secure tenancy become payable under the demoted tenancy;

(d) it is also a term of the demoted tenancy that any rent paid in advance or overpaid at the termination of the secure tenancy is credited to the tenant's liability to pay rent under the demoted tenancy.

(4) The court must not make a demotion order unless it is satisfied—

(a) that the tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house has engaged or has threatened to engage in—

(i) housing-related anti-social conduct, or

(ii) conduct to which section 153B of the Housing Act 1996 (use of premises for unlawful purposes) applies, and

(b) that it is reasonable to make the order.

(5) Each of the following has effect in respect of a demoted tenancy at the time it is created by virtue of an order under this section as it has effect in relation to the secure tenancy at the time it is terminated by virtue of the order—

(a) the parties to the tenancy;

(b) the period of the tenancy;

(c) the amount of the rent;

(d) the dates on which the rent is payable.

(6) …

(7) If the landlord of the demoted tenancy serves on the tenant a statement of any other express terms of the secure tenancy which are to apply to the demoted tenancy such terms are also terms of the demoted tenancy.

(7A) In subsection (4)(a) “housing-related anti-social conduct” has the same meaning as in section 153A of the Housing Act 1996.

(8) …


Section 153A provides, so far as presently material:

(1) In this section —

“anti-social conduct” means conduct which is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to some person (who need not be a particular identified person);

“conduct” means conduct anywhere;

“housing-related” means directly or indirectly relating to or affecting the housing management functions of a relevant landlord.


Demoted tenancies are the subject of Chapter 1A of Part 1 of the 1996 Act. Its relevant provisions at the times material to this appeal were as follows:

143B Duration of demoted tenancy

(1) A demoted tenancy becomes a secure tenancy at the end of the period of one year (the demotion period) starting with the day the demotion order takes effect; but this is subject to subsections (2) to (5).

(2) …

(3) If at any time before the end of the demotion period the landlord serves a notice of proceedings for possession of the dwelling-house subsection (4) applies.

(4) The tenancy continues as a demoted tenancy until the end of the demotion period or (if later) until any of the following occurs—

(a) the notice of proceedings is withdrawn by the landlord;

(b) the proceedings are determined in favour of the tenant;

(c) the period of 6 months beginning with the date on which the notice is served ends and no proceedings for possession have been brought.

(5) A tenancy does not come to an end merely because it ceases to be a demoted tenancy.

143D Proceedings for possession

(1) The landlord may only bring a demoted tenancy to an end by obtaining an order of the court for possession of the dwelling-house.

(2) The court must make an order for possession unless it thinks that the procedure under sections 143E and 143F has not been followed.

(3) If the court makes such an order the tenancy comes to an end on the date on which the tenant is to give up possession in pursuance of the order.

143E Notice of proceedings for possession

(1) Proceedings for possession of a dwelling-house let under a demoted tenancy must not be brought unless the landlord has served on the tenant a notice of proceedings under this section.

(2) The notice must—

(a) state that the court will be asked to make an order for the possession of the dwelling-house;

(b) set out the reasons for the landlord's decision to apply for the order;

(c) specify the date after which proceedings for the possession of the dwelling-house may be begun;

(d) inform the tenant of his right to request a review of the landlord's decision and of the time within which the request must be made.

(3) The date specified under subsection (2)(c) must not be earlier than the date on which the tenancy could (apart from this Chapter) be brought to an end by notice to quit given by the landlord on the same date as the notice of proceedings.

(4) The court must not entertain proceedings begun on or before the date specified under subsection (2)(c).

(5) The notice must also inform the tenant that if he needs help or advice—

(a) about the notice, or

(b) about what to do about the notice,

he must take the notice immediately to a Citizen's Advice Bureau, a housing aid centre, a law centre or a solicitor.

143F Review of decision to seek possession

(1) Before the end of the period of 14 days beginning with the date of service of a notice for possession of a dwelling-house let under a demoted tenancy the tenant may request the landlord to review its decision to seek an order for possession.

(2) If a request is made in accordance with subsection (1) the landlord must review the decision.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision as to the procedure to be followed in connection with a review under this section.

(4) The regulations may include provision—

(a) requiring the decision on review to be made by a person of appropriate seniority who was not involved in the original decision;

(b) as to the circumstances in which the tenant is entitled to an oral hearing, and whether and by whom he may be represented at the hearing.

(5) The landlord must notify the tenant—

(a) of the decision on the review;

(b) of the reasons for the decision.

(6) The review must be carried out and notice given under subsection (5) before the date specified in the notice of proceedings as the date after which proceedings for possession of the dwelling-house may be begun.

143N Jurisdiction of county court

(1) A county court has jurisdiction—

(a) to determine questions arising under this Chapter;

(b) to entertain proceedings brought under this Chapter;

(c) to determine claims (for whatever amount) in connection with a demoted tenancy.

(2) The jurisdiction includes jurisdiction to entertain proceedings as to whether a statement supplied in pursuance of section 143M(4)(b) (written statement of certain terms of tenancy) is accurate.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) it is immaterial that no relief other than a declaration is sought.

(4) If a person takes proceedings in the High Court which, by virtue of this section, he could have taken in the county court he is not entitled to recover any costs.

(5) …

(6) …

(7) …


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