The case involved a secure tenant who had a possession order made against her for arrears of rent. She had previously had her application to purchase the property granted by her council landlord. Because of the possession order, she became a tolerated trespasser.
Some time later, she cleared her arrears of rent and claimed that this revived her secure tenancy and with it the right to purchase the property. The council claimed that the secure tenancy had not revived and was successful in the lower court. However, on appeal, the Court of Appeal decided differently.
The Court went on to conclude that once the woman’s tenancy had revived, she had the right to sue for breaches of the landlord’s covenants and that right would include breaches of covenants which occurred during the ‘limbo’ period when the tenant was a tolerated trespasser. Furthermore, the right extended to breaches of covenants which were implied as well as those which were expressly agreed. The right to buy was therefore revived as were the tenant’s other rights in such circumstances.
Because of the legal difficulties presented by tolerated trespassers, the Government is considering changes to landlord and tenant law which will abolish the concept.