Home Loss Payments

31 Jan 2014

Most people think that a tenant is entitled to a Home Loss Payment if he/she moves out because their landlord wants to carry out improvements to their home or wants to re-develop the land on which it is built. But this is only correct if the tenant has been displaced.

In the case of Ingle v Scarborough BC 2002 EWCA Civ 290, Miss Ingle was one of a large number of tenants of Scarborough Borough Council, who were rehoused in the context of the redevelopment of the Edghill Estate. She claimed a home loss payment under section 29 of the Land & Compensation Act 1973, (“the LCA”).

Section 29(1) (c) of the LCA states:

"(1) Where a person is displaced [my emphasis] from a dwelling on any land in consequence of – (c) where the land … is for the time being held by the authority for … the carrying out of any improvement to the dwelling or of redevelopment on the land."

In the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice May said the word "displaced" had overtones of compulsion and that displacement had to involve at least some action or persuasion by the local authority landlord; it was not just a question of the tenant being displaced in a physical spatial sense. He pointed out that there was no evidence or finding that Miss Ingle was told that she had to go. On the contrary, she left because she wanted a transfer. He said:

“There is a difference between a tenant who is willing to move in circumstances where he or she regards it as inevitable and the tenant who positively wants to move to better accommodation”.

Miss Ingle, on the court’s finding, was in the latter position. He went on:

“I do not consider that a tenant, who positively wants to move and who gets a transfer that she wants, can properly be said to have been displaced”.

This decision means that, as the law currently stands;

  • Decanting is not enough for an entitlement to a home loss payment
  • The question whether a tenant is displaced is a question of fact
  • Each case will depend on its own facts

It also means landlords may be able to save themselves a lot of money, when you realise that a home loss payment is currently £4,700.