Possession claim defended after conviction
Our client was the tenant of a Housing Association property in Stoke Newington. There had been problems with a neighbour. Our client was arrested for assault on the neighbour and possession of an offensive weapon. He was refused bail and on admitting the assault sentenced to a short prison term. His landlord obtained an injunction barring his return to the flat on his release and made a possession claim.
Our client instructed us that he was the victim of inaction by his landlord and harassment from the neighbour. We filed a defence stating that the Housing Association had not dealt with his complaints of noise nuisance from the neighbour and we obtained the full housing file. The file showed that allegations of nuisance against a neighbour had not been investigated fully by the Housing Association. We obtained evidence from another tenant that in their experience our client had been a good and responsible neighbour. With this evidence in place we were able to negotiate a settlement before the trial and our client kept his home.
Note. It is unusual to succeed in defending a possession claim where a violent criminal offence has been committed in or near the premises. All the case law is against the tenant. It is not possible to challenge the fact of the conviction. This is especially so when a neighbour is involved. It is extremely important in Anti-Social Behaviour cases to obtain a full copy of the housing file in order to ensure that Housing Associations have adhered to their own policy in relation to Anti-Social Behaviour and also to trace witnesses and neighbours who might give evidence in support of the tenant who is facing eviction.