Response - Tolerated Trespassers: Successor Landlord Cases

By: John Gallagher  Published: December 2008

We warmly welcome the reforms to be brought about by Schedule 11 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. The concept of the tolerated trespasser, and the line of cases which has flowed from it, has been disastrous for the law of landlord and tenant and has led to significant injustice.


The House of Lords, in its timely judgment in the cases of Knowsley Housing Trust v White; Honeygan-Green v London Borough of Islington; Porter v Shepherds Bush Housing Association [2008] UKHL 70, 10th December 2008, has reflected the damage done to the law of residential tenancies by this conceptual nightmare. In relation to the issues raised by the status of tolerated trespasser, Lord Neuberger commented that “While [such issues] may be of interest to lawyers, they are simply not the sort of issues which legislation designed to protect residential tenants should require to be resolved.”


The effective abolition of the tolerated trespasser achieved by Schedule 11, together with the creation of new tenancies for existing tolerated trespassers, will ensure that the law is no longer tainted by the irrational consequences of this doctrine. For the same reasons, we have welcomed the beneficial effects of Schedule 11 however, we have been critical of the omission of successor landlord cases from the benefits of these changes.


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