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Westminster City Council v Clarke

[1992] 2 AC 288

Case summary last updated at 09/01/2020 14:18 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Westminster City Council v Clarke

P let D have a room in a hostel as he was homeless, it could oblige him to share his room with other homeless people at any given point and could be evicted if he caused nuisance to other residents immediately, or otherwise if he caused nuisance. HL held that it had been legitimate for P to limit D’s rights to those of the lodger having regard to the circumstances and the purpose of providing D with a room. 
 
Lord Templeman: It was in both D’s and P’s interest that occupants should not have exclusive possession or tenancy: If one room became uninhabitable e.g. flooded, the council could move the person staying in that room into another one that could be shared. Hence there was actually a practical reason to deny exclusive possession, unlike in Aslan. Also the objective of providing temporary accommodation until occupants could find elsewhere to live is more consistent with a license than a tenancy. “This is a very special case which depends on the peculiar nature of the hostel maintained by the council, the use of the hostel by the council, the totality, immediacy, and objectives of the powers exercisable by the council and the restrictions imposed on Mr. Clarke. The decision in this case will not allow a landlord, private or public, to free himself from the Rent Acts or from the restrictions of a secure tenancy merely by adopting or adapting the language of the licence to occupy.” 

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