An assured shorthold tenant who opposed a possession order arguing that it impinged her right to respect for her home under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has had her appeal rejected unanimously by the Supreme Court.

The parents of the tenant, Fiona McDonald, had taken out a mortgage on the property in question but fell into arrears following financial problems with their business. The parents then appointed the receivers who served the possession order on Ms McDonald.

Ms McDonald argued that courts considering possession orders made by private sector landlords should consider whether the eviction of the occupier is proportional under the provisions of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and article 8 of the ECHR. She also asked the court to consider whether section 21(4) of the Housing Act 1988, which provides for possession orders, could be reinterpreted as providing for an assessment of proportionality in such circumstances.

The Supreme Court rejected the tenant’s arguments and found that she was not able to invoke the provisions of either the Human Rights Act or the ECHR to vary the order that had been contractually agreed.

The tenant’s arguments concerning the Housing Act 1988 were also refused on the basis that Parliament had decided how to weigh the rights of tenants and landlords against each other.