Eviction Fiction! Michelle Caney Successful in £1.1M Unlawful Eviction Case

Michelle Caney
Written by:

Justin Luckman


In a case which attracted national media coverage, Michelle Caney has successfully secured the dismissal of a £1.1m claim for unlawful eviction following a hotly contested 9-day trial at the Royal Courts of Justice. Michelle acted for Clarion Housing Association Limited, instructed by Lindsay Felstead and Lauren Hampton of Clarke Willmott LLP.

The Claimant’s case was that the Defendant, through its employees, deceitfully engineered a situation whereby it could claim that he had ended his tenancy. Specifically, the Claimant alleged that he was tricked into returning the keys by an employee of the Defendant during the Covid-19 pandemic. The employee had then sub-let the property to her boyfriend without his knowledge or consent, resulting in him being unlawfully evicted.

The case ultimately turned on the Claimant’s credibility and the authenticity of emails which, if genuine, demonstrated that he had given notice to terminate his tenancy before returning his keys. Michelle’s forensic cross-examination revealed that the Claimant had “lied to the court on a number of occasions” [26]. The Judge was satisfied that the Claimant’s evidence had been designed by him to present a case that fitted in with the result that he wanted to achieve and “had little or no connection with the truth” [29].

Notwithstanding doubts expressed by the Cyber Expert on the veracity of three of the emails in dispute, the Judge nevertheless concluded that all of the emails were genuine and that the Claimant had sent the emails terminating his tenancy [109-112]. Even if there had not been a valid notice to terminate, the Judge concluded that he was estopped from contending that his tenancy continued [113]. The Court was therefore satisfied that the Claimant was no longer a tenant after 30 March 2020. It followed that his claims for unlawful eviction and breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment were bound to fail.

The judgment was handed down on 7 June 2024 and can be found here >>>

Written by Justin Luckman