Wychavon District Council v EM

Judge: Judge Mark

Citation: [2011] UKUT 144 (AAC)

Summary: This was a decision of the Upper Tribunal in respect of a claim for housing benefit. The claimant lived and was cared for in a home that had been specially constructed for her. She was (apparently) party to a tenancy agreement with her father as landlord. The tenancy agreement was for an indefinite term. In the space for the claimant’s signature the agreement simply said that she was ‘profoundly disabled and cannot communicate at all’.

The Upper Tribunal found that there was no agreement as the claimant had not agreed to the arrangements (regardless of whether or not she had capacity to do so). There could not be a voidable agreement as the claimant’s father must have known that she was of unsound mind and could not have entered into a contract. It could not be said that she had taken the benefit of the contract and should therefore pay the rent as she had no understanding of the basis on which she was staying at her home. She had no liability to pay rent and until such time as a lawful agreement was entered into on her behalf, there was no entitlement to apply for housing benefit.

Comment: This case is of interest because it addresses, from outside the Court of Protection, the question of the validity of tenancy agreements entered into with people who lack capacity. This is a subject which it is anticipated the Court of Protection is likely to have to grapple with in the near future.

CategoryMental capacity - Tenancy agreements Date


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