DESCRIPTIVE RUBRIC

Landlord and tenant - Public sector housing - Tenants rights - Right to purchase - Failure of timeous Notice of Refusal - Death of tenant - Change of circumstances - Sist of executor - Rights of executor - Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, section 71

Ross v Dundee City Council
29 March 2000
LTS/TR/1999/9

The tenant of a local authority dwelling made an application to purchase. The landlords did not respond formally but proceeded with valuation and issue of a draft offer. However they later took the view that she was not, in fact, entitled to buy as the property was a "sheltered house". The tenant attempted, unsuccessfully, to persuade the landlord that the change of mind was incompetent. She eventually applied to the Tribunal for a finding that there had been a failure to give timeous notice and for the Tribunal to take such steps as were necessary to issue an offer to sell. The landlords lodged answers repeating their contentions as to the status of the subjects as a "sheltered house". They did not dispute that there had been no timeous notice. Shortly thereafter the tenant died. Her executor sought to be sisted as a party and to continue the application. For the landlord it was contended that as the tenancy had come to an end the application was incompetent and should be dismissed. For the tenant it was argued that as the application had progressed to a purely administrative stage the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to consider a change of circumstances and required simply to process the application.

Held (1) Tribunal procedure did not prescribe formal rules for sisting and would look at the circumstances of each case to ensure that the substantive issue between the parties was determined at as early a stage in proceedings as possible; (2) the respondents had in fact lodged answers to the minute of sist and the executor had, in effect, been allowed to take part in the proceedings as far as necessary to focus the issue and have it determined; (3) accordingly it was appropriate in the present case, formally to allow him to be sisted; (4) the purpose of the statutory machinery was to ensure that an offer to sell was made to a tenant and where there was no longer a relevant tenant the purpose of the application had ceased; (5) the Tribunal was entitled to consider whether an applicant had the status of tenant; (6) in any event the Tribunal was entitled to take notice of an admitted change bringing the tenancy to an end; (7) accordingly the executor had no right to purchase and the application should be dismissed.

Authorities

Cooper's Executors v Edinburgh District Council 1991 SLT 518
City of Glasgow District Council v Peart 1999 Housing Law Reports 117
East of Scotland Water Authority v Livingstone 1999 SC 65
Gibson v Barbour 1846 8 D 427
Green v Borthwick 1896 24 R 211
Jack's Executrix v Falkirk District Council 1992 SLT 5
Martin's Executrix v McGee 1914 SC 628
MacKay v City of Dundee District Council 1996 SLT (Lands Tr) page 9


See full decision:  LTS/TR/1999/9