DESCRIPTIVE RUBRIC

Landlord and tenant – Public sector housing – Tenants Rights – Right to purchase – Whether house provided with facilities specially designed or adapted for the needs of persons of pensionable age or disabled persons – Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, Section 61(4)(a)

Davidson v Dundee City Council
4 July 2001
LTS/TR/2001/3

The applicant was the tenant of a first-floor flat which, along with other flats in the area, had been converted to sheltered accommodation in the course of a 1977/78 modernisation project. The flat was connected to a call system operated by a nearby warden and also had an ‘activity mat’ enabling the warden to observe whether there had been activity in the house. It had certain other facilities which did not, however, meet the requirements of the elderly infirm. As to access, it lacked either ramps or a lift. The applicant was aged 87 and members of her family attended upon her continuously. She was therefore not in fact making use of the warden service.

The applicant accepted that if the facilities met the required standard, the house was one of a ‘group’ within the meaning of Section 61(4)(a), but drew attention to the shortcomings of the facilities and submitted that the facilities provided did not meet the statutory requirement.

Held (1) in applying Section 61(4)(a), no account could be taken of subjective considerations relating to the tenant applicant and the facilities were not to be measured by her particular condition;

(2) provision of facilities to meet the needs of persons of pensionable age was alternative to provision for disabled persons, and the fact that the facilities did not meet the needs of the disabled or elderly infirm such as the applicant was not decisive;

(3) (following Forsyth v South Ayrshire Council, LTS/TR/20001/1, 18.4.2001) facilities were not required to meet any particular standard beyond the words of the statute, and the fact that the accommodation lacked certain facilities was not relevant;

(4) some features might be so common to any house as to make it difficult to see them as contributing to satisfying the definition;

(5) Section 61(4)(a) puts the provision of a call system and warden service at the forefront of consideration; and

(6) weighing up the facilities which were provided, the statutory test was satisfied, and the right to buy was accordingly excluded.

Other cases referred to

City of Dundee District Council v Anderson 1994 S.L.T. 46
Martin v Motherwell District Council 1991 S.L.T. (Lands Tr.) 4
Crilly v Motherwell District Council 1988 S.L.T. (Lands Tr.) 7
Mooney v City of Dundee District Council 1992 S.L.T. (Lands Tr.) 103


See full decision:  LTS/TR/2001/3