This was a housing repossession case brought by Shelter with intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The legal question was – Is the proportionality test under sections 15 and 35(1)(b) of the Equality Act 2010 the same as the test under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights?
No, held the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision dismissing the case (Akerman-Livingstone v Aster Communities Limited). Under section 35(1)(b) of the Equality Act eviction is unfavourable treatment for the purposes of section 15. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to respect for a person’s home.
The tenant had a disability. Shelter sought repossession of the tenant’s flat following eleven offers to rehouse him. His inability to move arose from the disability. The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeal that the housing association had discharged its duty to accommodate under s.193(2) of the Housing Act 1996. However, it set out that under the Equality Act, no landlord is entitled to evict a disabled tenant because of something arising in consequence of disability unless he can show eviction to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
The Lords stated that the housing authority had gone out of its way to accommodate the tenant and needed possession to allow it to meet its obligations under the Housing Act. This would constitute a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.