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Revenge Eviction Ruled Unlawful

When a solicitor was considered to be making a nuisance of herself by helping her clients make claims against the local council, which was also her landlord, the council took the decision to refuse to offer her a new lease. Her office was in a unit owned by the council and let as enterprise units to small and medium-sized businesses on three-year leases at attractive rents.

The solicitor specialises in personal injury claims and had brought several actions against the council on behalf of clients who had suffered injuries as a result of 'slips and trips' on property for which the council was responsible.

The council's decision to rid itself of the solicitor brought another legal challenge. Although the solicitor had no statutory right to have a new lease, the council's action was ruled to be 'an act of retaliation, pure and simple', by the court.

The council argued that it had the right of all landowners to lease its premises to whomsoever it chose, but the court considered that the council had a public law duty to be seen not to act in an unfair manner.

Recently, a Private Members' Bill was brought before Parliament aimed at preventing 'revenge evictions' of tenants by landlords.

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