Grounds for Possession 

Landlords are well aware that obtaining possession of their properties could sometimes involve a difficult and somewhat confusing process. Most tenancies issued today are Assured Tenancies. The laws governing the repossession of assured tenancies are contained in the Housing Act 1988. Specifically, Schedule 2 of the 1988 Act sets out the grounds on which landlords may seek possession of their property.

Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 can broadly be divided into mandatory and discretionary grounds for possession. There are about 17 grounds for possession. Grounds one to eight are contained in Part 1 of the Schedule 2 and are considered as mandatory grounds for possession. If a landlord meets the strict requirements of a mandatory ground and has properly complied with the correct procedure then the court must make an order for possession against the tenant and in favour of the landlord. Grounds 9 to 17 are the discretionary grounds for possession. The discretionary grounds can be found in Part 2 of the Schedule — they give a court broad discretionary powers to make an order for possession. It is often more difficult to convince judges to exercise their discretion to make an order for possession against a tenant. Thus, when possible, you should proceed under one or more mandatory grounds which will entitle you to an order for possession against the tenant, provided you have complied with the prescribed procedures. This article focuses on the mandatory grounds for possession.

Mandatory Ground 1 — This ground may be used where a landlord permitted a tenant to live in the landlord’s property. At the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord informed the tenant in writing that the landlord may rely on this ground in seeking possession of the property. Further, the landlord may proceed under this ground for possession if the landlord seeks possession of the property in order to make the property their home and the landlord gave notice at the beginning of the arrangement that they may seek possession on this basis.

Mandatory Ground 2 —  If prior to the commencement of the tenancy the property was subject to a mortgage and the mortgage company now wants to sell the property for any valid reason, then the landlord may seek possession in order to allow the mortgage company sell a vacant property.

Mandatory Ground 3 — A landlord may seek possession of their property where the property was occupied by the tenant for the purpose of a holiday, and the tenant was given a tenancy for a fixed term of no more than eight months. In order to rely on this ground, the landlord is required to have given a written notice to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy confirming that possession of the property may be sought under this ground.

Mandatory Ground 4 — This ground deals with student lettings. A landlord may seek possession under this ground if the landlord granted a tenancy to students for a period of 12 months or less. In order to rely on this ground for possession, the landlord must have informed the students in writing at the beginning of the tenancy that possession may be sought under this ground.

Mandatory Ground 5 — According to ground 5, a court must make an order for possession if the court is satisfied that the property is used for the purposes of providing accommodation for a minister of religion. In order to be successful under this ground the landlord must have given the tenant a written notice at the beginning of the tenancy stating that possession may be sought under this ground.

Mandatory Ground 6 — Landlords may seek possession under this ground if they can show that they intend to demolish the building or carry out substantial works and those works cannot reasonably be carried out while the tenant remains in occupation of the property. The key point here is that the work to be carried out is “substantial”.

Mandatory Ground 7 — This ground deals with tenancies that pass under a will or intestacy of the former tenant. A landlord may bring possession proceedings against the tenant if the tenancy is a fixed term or statutory periodic tenancy. Under this ground, the landlord is required to seek possession of the property within twelve months after the death of the former tenant.

Mandatory Ground 7A — Under this ground a landlord may seek possession of the property if the tenant or the tenant’s visitors have been convicted of a serious offence and the offence was committed in the property or in the locality of the property. There are several conditions that must be satisfied in order to successfully obtain possession under this ground. Please contact us if you have evidence that your tenant may have committed a serious offence or the tenant is subject to a court injunction.

Mandatory Ground 7B — As a landlord, you may seek possession of your property if you have been notified by relevant authorities that the tenant is not entitled to a tenancy due to their immigration status.

Mandatory Ground 8 — This ground deals with rent arrears. A landlord is entitled to a possession order if the landlord can prove that the tenant has failed to pay rent for at least eight weeks if rent is payable weekly. If rent is payable quarterly then the landlord must prove that at least one quarter’s rent (which must be the equivalent of at least three months’ rent) remains unpaid. In relation to rent payable monthly, this ground requires that at least two months’ rent is unpaid. For rent payable yearly, the landlord must prove that at least three months’ rent is unpaid.



Please contact us if none of the mandatory grounds mentioned above applies to your situation and we will be happy to advise you. We can also advise on discretionary grounds for possession. 

Employment Law Case Review



This case looks at the “reasonable adjustments” that an Employment Tribunal can be expected to make for a disabled party pursuant to section 20 of the Equality Act 2010. It also considers the need for an Employment Tribunal Judge to cause a telephone call to be made to enquire about the absence of a party at a hearing. 


The Claimant started working for the Respondent in 2006. In October 2011 he was diagnosed with having depression and was off work on several occasions starting in January 2013. Whilst still absent from work due to health problems in 2014 the Claimant brought a claim against his employers (the Government Legal Department) for race discrimination, harassment, victimisation and breach of section 10 Employment Relations Act 1999. 

In November 2014 the Claimant was examined by a consultant occupation physician who concluded that the Claimant’s condition did not amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. However, the physician indicated that the Claimant’s symptoms may amount to a disability if it did not improve over the next few months. The Claimant was off work intermittently but did not return to work again after December 2015.


In 2016 the claim was heard at the Employment Tribunal. The hearing ran for 14 days and the Claimant represented himself. During the course of the hearing, a psychiatrist gave evidence stating that the Claimant has “a psychiatric condition with high levels of anxiety as the main symptom.” The psychiatrist mentioned that the process of representing himself is likely to have a detrimental effect on his mental health.  

The Claimant argued that his employers attempted to force him into early retirement due to ill health (“ill health retirement”). The Tribunal found no evidence to support that claim. In fact, the tribunal dismissed all the Claimant’s claims. 

In April 2016 the Claimant was again assessed by another consultant occupational physician who concluded that the Claimant was unfit for work and was likely to remain permanently unfit to continue his job at the Government Legal Department. The Claimant retirement age was 60 and he turned 60 in February 2016 (during his Employment Tribunal hearing).


Following the dismissal of the Claimant’s claims after the initial 14-day hearing that concluded in February 2016, the Claimant brought another claim in October 2016 for unfair dismissal, race and disability discrimination. It appeared to the Tribunal that the second claim was regarding issues that had already been litigated at the initial hearing.  

In November 2016 the Tribunal ordered the Claimant to provide a schedule of loss, but the Claimant failed to provide the schedule. A date was then scheduled for a preliminary hearing — the Claimant asked for an adjournment because he needed more time and in order to obtain legal advice. This request was denied by the Employment Judge on the grounds that the Claimant has not provided any medical evidence to support this request. On the day of the preliminary hearing, the Claimant was 45 minutes late. He explained to the Judge that he misread the hearing time on the notice of hearing.

At the preliminary hearing, the Judge made a number of orders requiring the Claimant to provide details particularising his claim for race and disability discrimination. He was also ordered to provide further details in relation to the pay he was claiming. The Claimant complied with some aspects of the order but did not particularise his claims for race and disability discrimination as ordered by the Judge. At the preliminary hearing, the Judge encouraged the Claimant not to delay proceedings and highlighted places where the Claimant may be able to obtain free legal advice and assistance. 

In February 2017 the Claimant applied to stay proceedings until he obtained legal advice. This application was denied by an Employment Judge. The Judge also made an unless order. The unless order provided that the race and disability claims would be struck out unless the Claimant particularised those claims before a specified date. The order also stated that the monetary claims would be struck out within 12 days unless the Claimant provided “persuasive reasons” why the money claims should not be struck out. The Claimant did not particularise his claims for race and disability discrimination and did not provide “persuasive reasons” why the monetary claims should not be struck out. As a result of non-compliance with the unless order the claims for race and disability discrimination and the monetary claims were all struck out.

In March 2017 the Claimant asked the Tribunal to reconsider the strike out decision. In effect, the Claimant suggested that he could not conduct the proceedings due to his ill health and that he required legal assistance for which he was still searching. The Employment Judge ordered the Claimant to provide medical evidence to support his applications to stay the proceedings and to reconsider the claims which were struck out. The Claimant provided medical reports which confirmed that he remained unwell and that the Tribunal proceedings were contributing to the stress that the Claimant was experiencing. Consequently, the application to stay the proceedings was rejected because the reports did not say that the Claimant was unable to comply with the directions or unable to attend the preliminary hearing. The Claimant repeated his application to stay the proceedings on the basis of his poor health and his difficulty in dealing with complex legal proceedings due to his poor health. This further application was also rejected.

A preliminary hearing was later held on 31 May 2017, but the Claimant did not attend this hearing. The Claimant said that he did not attend the hearing because the notice of hearing referred to the Judge sitting alone. Although this meant that the Judge will sit without lay members the Claimant said that he assumed that the parties were not required to attend that hearing. The Judge proceeded with the hearing in absence of the Claimant.


On appeal, the Claimant argued that the Tribunal failed to make reasonable adjustments for his disability as required by section 20 of the Equality Act 2010. The EAT accepted the medical reports which concluded that the Claimant was unfit to work. However, the EAT held that the Claimant’s unfitness to work does not in itself mean that the Claimant was unable to attend the hearing. The EAT noted that the medical reports did not say that the Claimant was unable to prepare written submissions or represent himself at a hearing. The fact that the Claimant represented himself at the initial 14-day hearing and prepared documents further indicate that the Claimant was indeed able to represent himself at the second hearing for which he was seeking a stay of proceedings.

Further, the EAT noted that the Employment Tribunal had made several reasonable adjustments, including informing the Claimant of possible sources of legal advice and assistance, advising the Claimant not to delay the matter, issuing an unless order, converting one of the preliminary hearings to a telephone hearing, informing the Claimant that he needed to particularise his claims for race and disability discrimination, allowing the Claimant more time to provide medical evidence to support his application for a stay of proceedings. 

On the second ground of appeal, the Claimant contended that the ET Judge ought to have taken steps to ascertain why he had not attended the hearing on 31 May 2017. The EAT accepted the Claimant’s submission on this ground of appeal. The EAT held that there could have been several reasons why the Claimant did not attend the hearing on 31 May 2017, including mistake as to the requirement for him to attend, falling ill, transport-related problems, and misunderstanding of the time of the hearing (which had happened in relation to an earlier hearing). The EAT concluded that given these possibilities the Judge erred in law in failing to cause a telephone call to be made to the Claimant to enquire about his absence from the hearing. The ET Judge erroneously decided that the Claimant deliberately absented himself from the hearing. Nonetheless, the EAT held that this error of law has made no difference to the outcome because if the Claimant had attended the hearing on 31 May 2017 he would have repeated his application for stay of the proceedings and that application had no prospect of success.

The EAT found that the Claimant’s claim had no merit, especially as he still had not particularised his claim for race and disability discrimination. Also, the Claimant had not provided reasons for not striking out his claims or reasons for not striking out his unfair dismissal claim. Indeed, the EAT noted that the Claimant was attempting to revive issues that had already been litigated at the initial 14-day hearing which the Claimant is not entitled to do. The Claimant’s appeal was dismissed. 


The Law on Whistleblowing


Whistleblowing refers to the disclosure of wrongdoing that a worker has seen at work. You may disclose the information to your employer or to a third party. The right to whistleblow is an important right that the law affords to workers. A common misconception is that you have to be employed by a government department in order to legally whistleblow. This isn’t true. In fact, a worker has the legal right to whistleblow regardless of whether they work for a private company or a government body.


In order to enjoy certain legal protections, the disclosure of information must be a “qualifying disclosure”, but not every wrongdoing at work will count as a “qualifying disclosure” under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA). Under the ERA a disclosure of information is a qualifying disclosure if the worker making the disclosure reasonably believes that they are making the disclosure in the public interest.


The public interest test has been broadly interpreted by the courts so that it may now include issues such as bonuses and pay to workers. A good way to ascertain if a disclosure is in the public interest is to ask yourself this question: how many people does this issue currently affect. If you are satisfied that the issue affects a reasonably large number of people then the “public interest” test may be satisfied. Recent case laws indicate that an issue that affects 100 or more people will pass the public interest test. In many other cases, it will be obvious to the observer that the public interest test has been met.

In order for the information to amount to a qualifying disclosure the information disclosed must reveal one or more of the following:

  1. Criminal offence
  2. Failure to comply with a legal obligation
  3. Miscarriage of justice
  4. Endangerment of health and safety
  5. Damage to the environment.

It is immaterial whether the failure or offence referred to above occurred in the UK or whether the applicable law is a UK or foreign law. If the worker commits an offence by disclosing the information then the disclosure will not amount to a qualifying disclosure.


The Employment Rights Act 1996 protects workers that make qualifying disclosures. Under the 1996 Act a worker who is dismissed for making a qualified disclosure will be deemed as unfairly dismissed. Unlike most employment rights there is no qualifying period of employment. Therefore, for the purposes of whistleblowing, your length of service with your employer is immaterial and it will be automatically deemed as unfair dismissal if the only or main reason for the dismissal is that you made a protected disclosure.



We offer training and advice on this subject. For more information about whistleblowing, you can reach us at or call us on 0203 488 3078

Dispute Resolution Schemes

There are several ADR schemes out there and different firms or industries may choose to settle disputes through a specific scheme. The type of ADR scheme used to settle dispute will determine the process and the outcome you get. The three main forms of ADR are:

Arbitration — This is the process by which a dispute between parties is heard and determined by an independent person (arbitrator) appointed by the parties concerned. The determination of the arbitrator is legally binding.

Adjudication — An adjudicator is an independent person with expertise in the area of dispute. The arbitrator will consider evidence submitted by both parties before reaching a decision. Unlike arbitration, adjudication is not legally binding and parties may proceed to court if they are still not satisfied with the outcome of the adjudication.

Conciliation and mediation — In mediation an independent and impartial person talks to the parties separately or together with the aim of reaching a solution that is acceptable to the parties. The mediator does not take sides, rather the mediator acts as a conduit for resolving the underlying issues. Although similar to mediation, conciliation primarily focuses on the outcome desired by both parties and is less concerned with the underlying issues that caused the dispute.

Our clients appoint us to represent them during the ADR process in order to protect their interests. We also provide advice and toolkit to our clients who elect to personally manage the process.

We offer training and advice on this subject. For more information, you can reach us at or call us on 0203 488 3078

Find Out if You Hold a Tenancy or Licence Agreement

The primary difference between a tenancy and a licence agreement is that a tenancy generally provides more rights and protection to the occupier. Thus, if you are an individual it is important to ascertain if you hold a tenancy or a licence agreement. The three hallmarks of a tenancy are: (a) exclusive possession; (b) for a term; (c) at rent.

Exclusive possession. The term exclusive possession is not expressly defined, but it is generally accepted that if an occupier has control of the entire property, room, or significant area within the property, and in the absence of any meaningful restriction then they have exclusive possession. Ascertaining if an occupier has “exclusive possession” very much depends on the facts. Therefore, the clauses in the agreement are merely a starting point — the factual evidence is very important in deciding if an occupier has exclusive possession. In order to determine if you have created a tenancy or licence agreement, the courts will delve into the actual arrangement that existed between both parties. Courts are very reluctant to recognise a document as a licence especially when the tenant claims to hold a tenancy agreement. Generally, the occupier has exclusive possession if the landlord does not also live in the property.

In order to avoid granting an occupier exclusive possession, some landlords may insert a clause in the agreement that permits the landlord to move the occupier from one room to another. Again, the facts are important because irrespective of the presence of such clause in the agreement, if the landlord never actually moves the occupier between rooms then the tenant holds exclusive possession of the room they occupy. Further, depending on the provisions of such a clause in the agreement, it may amount to an unfair/unreasonable clause that is unenforceable against the occupier.

For a term. The second hallmark of a tenancy is that the agreement exists for a term certain. This means that the term of the agreement is either clearly stated in the agreement or ascertainable from the agreement. Most tenancies are for either six or twelve months. Therefore, if your agreement is for a term of six or twelve months the agreement satisfies this element of a tenancy. If the agreement does not expressly contain a term, it is still possible to find that the agreement is a periodic or month-to-month tenancy. Again, this depends on the factual evidence.

At rent. The final element of a tenancy is that the occupier pays rent for the occupation of the property. This is not to say that every occupier that pays rent to a landlord is automatically a tenant; indeed a licensee may validly pay rent under a licence agreement. The level of rent paid by the occupier is also relevant evidence in determining if a tenancy exists. For example, if an occupier pays rent at market rate then that is persuasive evidence that the occupier holds a tenancy.

In deciding whether an occupier holds a tenancy or a licence, you must closely consider the facts together with the signed agreement and take a holistic view. If all three elements of a tenancy are present then the occupier has a tenancy.

You most likely have a tenancy unless at least one of the following factors exists in your case:

  1. the landlord resides in the property; or
  1. the rent payable exceeds £100,000 a year; or
  1. the rent payable is no more than £1,000 a year; or
  1. a business tenancy; or
  1. it is a public house; or
  1. it is an agricultural land; or
  1. letting to students by an institution or specified body; or
  1. holiday lettings; or
  1. crown estate.


We offer training and advice on Landlord and Tenant matters. For more information, you can reach us at or call us on 0203 488 3078

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