Tenant: I’m happy I can keep my home

Bewley Court flats

Bewley Court flats

First published in News

A COUNCIL tenant has spoken of his relief after judges ordered Southend Council to give up a three-year battle to get him evicted from his flat.

The council has spent about £50,000 trying to move Robert Armour from the Bewley Court tower block, in Whittingham Avenue, Southend, because of alleged antisocial behaviour.

The council continued despite evidence Mr Armour, who has lived in the flat since January 2011, was mentally ill.

A Southend County Court judge originally threw out the council’s possession order in March 2012, after hearing Mr Armour had behaved for almost a year prior to the hearing.

Later in the year, the council challenged that ruling in the High Court, but was again rebuffed.

Yesterday the council took its case to the Court of Appeal, where three of the country’s most senior judges threw out the council’s appeal.

Speaking after the latest hearing, Mr Armour said he was glad it was over. He added: “I’m just happy to have kept my home.

“I was homeless for 17 years and I was very worried about ending up on the streets again.”

The court of appeal heard almost immediately after Mr Armour moved into the flat, a neighbour complained he had sworn at and threatened them.

Mr Armour was later said to have been “rude and aggressive”

to a council official during a phone call about the flat’s boiler.

He was also said to have sworn at electricians working at the flat and to have turned the power back on while they were working, giving one of the workmen an electric shock.

Mr Armour has vehemently denied all the allegations from the outset.

The council launched possession proceedings in the county court and while the judge accepted the council had acted reasonably, he ruled Mr Armour’s eviction was “no longer proportionate”.

The court was told there were doubts about Mr Armour’s literacy skills and he had been diagnosed with depression and Asperger’s syndrome. The county court judge said for almost a year, he “had kept to the terms of his tenancy” and behaved.

The basis of both the council’s appeals was that the original judge had been “too generous”.

However, dismissing the case in the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Lewison said the original judge had been entitled to conclude Mr Armour's eviction would have been “disproportionate”.

The ruling means Mr Armour now has a secure tenancy for his flat. However, Lord Justice Lewison warned him any antisocial behaviour could lead to renewed possession proceedings.

Comments (12)

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8:16am Fri 14 Mar 14

rodgdodge says...

Didn`t this poor guy have a social worker, mental health worker?
He must have been almost suicidal at times over all this.
` Slipped through the net` seems to fit, yet again.
Didn`t this poor guy have a social worker, mental health worker? He must have been almost suicidal at times over all this. ` Slipped through the net` seems to fit, yet again. rodgdodge
  • Score: 15

8:35am Fri 14 Mar 14

w-jback says...

I hope we don't get these headlines in a few years...."Man arrested for setting fire to block of flats" or "Man arrested for assaulting neighbour"
I hope we don't get these headlines in a few years...."Man arrested for setting fire to block of flats" or "Man arrested for assaulting neighbour" w-jback
  • Score: 21

8:56am Fri 14 Mar 14

drofmor1 says...

I live next door to nuisance neighbours. They are in social housing. They are not being too bad at the moment but I have put up with music late at night,dogs barking late into the night, The front garden filled with rubbish and the house reeking of dog excrement due to them not cleaning it up from in the house. I have tried over the years for help with these matters. The landlords do their best and even I try to reason with them as we do actually get on ok with the neighbour believe it or not. The one constant through all this is that I am told the tenant has mental health issues. Trust me that no matter how sad it is that people have mental health issues you really don't care about that when you are laying in bed at night crying your eyes out because of your neighbours anti social behaviour .
I live next door to nuisance neighbours. They are in social housing. They are not being too bad at the moment but I have put up with music late at night,dogs barking late into the night, The front garden filled with rubbish and the house reeking of dog excrement due to them not cleaning it up from in the house. I have tried over the years for help with these matters. The landlords do their best and even I try to reason with them as we do actually get on ok with the neighbour believe it or not. The one constant through all this is that I am told the tenant has mental health issues. Trust me that no matter how sad it is that people have mental health issues you really don't care about that when you are laying in bed at night crying your eyes out because of your neighbours anti social behaviour . drofmor1
  • Score: 79

9:54am Fri 14 Mar 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

"The ruling means Mr Armour now has a secure tenancy for his flat. However, Lord Justice Lewison warned him any antisocial behaviour could lead to renewed possession proceedings. "


i know its not fair to the other tenants having anti social neighbours, but he has kept his nose clean for a year, if he continues to do say everythings good...if not he will be out on his ear, all sounds like the right outcome.
"The ruling means Mr Armour now has a secure tenancy for his flat. However, Lord Justice Lewison warned him any antisocial behaviour could lead to renewed possession proceedings. " i know its not fair to the other tenants having anti social neighbours, but he has kept his nose clean for a year, if he continues to do say everythings good...if not he will be out on his ear, all sounds like the right outcome. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 3

9:56am Fri 14 Mar 14

JayRSS1 says...

drofmor1 wrote:
I live next door to nuisance neighbours. They are in social housing. They are not being too bad at the moment but I have put up with music late at night,dogs barking late into the night, The front garden filled with rubbish and the house reeking of dog excrement due to them not cleaning it up from in the house. I have tried over the years for help with these matters. The landlords do their best and even I try to reason with them as we do actually get on ok with the neighbour believe it or not. The one constant through all this is that I am told the tenant has mental health issues. Trust me that no matter how sad it is that people have mental health issues you really don't care about that when you are laying in bed at night crying your eyes out because of your neighbours anti social behaviour .
If someone claims to have mental health issues it is not an excuse for anti social behavior.
The council cannot wash their hands of responsibility and neither can the tenant.
If the tenant claims anti social behavior is down to mental health then this should be a sign that they are incapable of living independently. The authorities need to get them out and place them in a facility that can cope with these mental issues, for their own sake.
The neighbours' shouldn't have to put up with the nightmare next door.
[quote][p][bold]drofmor1[/bold] wrote: I live next door to nuisance neighbours. They are in social housing. They are not being too bad at the moment but I have put up with music late at night,dogs barking late into the night, The front garden filled with rubbish and the house reeking of dog excrement due to them not cleaning it up from in the house. I have tried over the years for help with these matters. The landlords do their best and even I try to reason with them as we do actually get on ok with the neighbour believe it or not. The one constant through all this is that I am told the tenant has mental health issues. Trust me that no matter how sad it is that people have mental health issues you really don't care about that when you are laying in bed at night crying your eyes out because of your neighbours anti social behaviour .[/p][/quote]If someone claims to have mental health issues it is not an excuse for anti social behavior. The council cannot wash their hands of responsibility and neither can the tenant. If the tenant claims anti social behavior is down to mental health then this should be a sign that they are incapable of living independently. The authorities need to get them out and place them in a facility that can cope with these mental issues, for their own sake. The neighbours' shouldn't have to put up with the nightmare next door. JayRSS1
  • Score: 23

10:49am Fri 14 Mar 14

andy:) says...

First of all its not at all clear whether any of the original allegations were proven against this tenant, it would appear to be one persons word against another, even if they were proven, depriving someone of their home should be an absolute lat resort for repeated serious offences, that does not appear to be the case here at all, and the courts have agreed with that.

Its hard to justify why the council has wasted £50,000 of taxpayers money on this ?. The tenant even if originally troublesome wasnt being problematic and the council wasnt hoping to set some sort of prerscedent with this.

They should of given up after the first hearing, the majority of us in that situation would simply have to, but the council thinks it has unlimited money (ours !) and therefore can continue to appeal. Many local authorities do the same in bedroom tax cases fighting them appeal after appeal spured on by government advice.
First of all its not at all clear whether any of the original allegations were proven against this tenant, it would appear to be one persons word against another, even if they were proven, depriving someone of their home should be an absolute lat resort for repeated serious offences, that does not appear to be the case here at all, and the courts have agreed with that. Its hard to justify why the council has wasted £50,000 of taxpayers money on this ?. The tenant even if originally troublesome wasnt being problematic and the council wasnt hoping to set some sort of prerscedent with this. They should of given up after the first hearing, the majority of us in that situation would simply have to, but the council thinks it has unlimited money (ours !) and therefore can continue to appeal. Many local authorities do the same in bedroom tax cases fighting them appeal after appeal spured on by government advice. andy:)
  • Score: 0

11:15am Fri 14 Mar 14

profondo asbo says...

"mental health issues" is the most over used term these days. more often than not it is used to describe a drug dependancy.
"mental health issues" is the most over used term these days. more often than not it is used to describe a drug dependancy. profondo asbo
  • Score: 19

5:17pm Fri 14 Mar 14

John Bull 40 says...

andy:) wrote:
First of all its not at all clear whether any of the original allegations were proven against this tenant, it would appear to be one persons word against another, even if they were proven, depriving someone of their home should be an absolute lat resort for repeated serious offences, that does not appear to be the case here at all, and the courts have agreed with that.

Its hard to justify why the council has wasted £50,000 of taxpayers money on this ?. The tenant even if originally troublesome wasnt being problematic and the council wasnt hoping to set some sort of prerscedent with this.

They should of given up after the first hearing, the majority of us in that situation would simply have to, but the council thinks it has unlimited money (ours !) and therefore can continue to appeal. Many local authorities do the same in bedroom tax cases fighting them appeal after appeal spured on by government advice.
perhaps you would change your view if he moved in next door to you.
[quote][p][bold]andy:)[/bold] wrote: First of all its not at all clear whether any of the original allegations were proven against this tenant, it would appear to be one persons word against another, even if they were proven, depriving someone of their home should be an absolute lat resort for repeated serious offences, that does not appear to be the case here at all, and the courts have agreed with that. Its hard to justify why the council has wasted £50,000 of taxpayers money on this ?. The tenant even if originally troublesome wasnt being problematic and the council wasnt hoping to set some sort of prerscedent with this. They should of given up after the first hearing, the majority of us in that situation would simply have to, but the council thinks it has unlimited money (ours !) and therefore can continue to appeal. Many local authorities do the same in bedroom tax cases fighting them appeal after appeal spured on by government advice.[/p][/quote]perhaps you would change your view if he moved in next door to you. John Bull 40
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Fri 14 Mar 14

ThisYear says...

profondo asbo wrote:
"mental health issues" is the most over used term these days. more often than not it is used to describe a drug dependancy.
Brother can you spare an expert.
[quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: "mental health issues" is the most over used term these days. more often than not it is used to describe a drug dependancy.[/p][/quote]Brother can you spare an expert. ThisYear
  • Score: 3

6:22pm Fri 14 Mar 14

ThisYear says...

John Bull 40 wrote:
andy:) wrote:
First of all its not at all clear whether any of the original allegations were proven against this tenant, it would appear to be one persons word against another, even if they were proven, depriving someone of their home should be an absolute lat resort for repeated serious offences, that does not appear to be the case here at all, and the courts have agreed with that.

Its hard to justify why the council has wasted £50,000 of taxpayers money on this ?. The tenant even if originally troublesome wasnt being problematic and the council wasnt hoping to set some sort of prerscedent with this.

They should of given up after the first hearing, the majority of us in that situation would simply have to, but the council thinks it has unlimited money (ours !) and therefore can continue to appeal. Many local authorities do the same in bedroom tax cases fighting them appeal after appeal spured on by government advice.
perhaps you would change your view if he moved in next door to you.
AND perhaps he wouldnt!
[quote][p][bold]John Bull 40[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andy:)[/bold] wrote: First of all its not at all clear whether any of the original allegations were proven against this tenant, it would appear to be one persons word against another, even if they were proven, depriving someone of their home should be an absolute lat resort for repeated serious offences, that does not appear to be the case here at all, and the courts have agreed with that. Its hard to justify why the council has wasted £50,000 of taxpayers money on this ?. The tenant even if originally troublesome wasnt being problematic and the council wasnt hoping to set some sort of prerscedent with this. They should of given up after the first hearing, the majority of us in that situation would simply have to, but the council thinks it has unlimited money (ours !) and therefore can continue to appeal. Many local authorities do the same in bedroom tax cases fighting them appeal after appeal spured on by government advice.[/p][/quote]perhaps you would change your view if he moved in next door to you.[/p][/quote]AND perhaps he wouldnt! ThisYear
  • Score: -2

10:09am Sat 15 Mar 14

LostFaith.com says...

profondo asbo wrote:
"mental health issues" is the most over used term these days. more often than not it is used to describe a drug dependancy.
or depressed and on the sick, whilst sticking to fingers up to all that try to help, poor me, its not my fault its everyone else.
[quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: "mental health issues" is the most over used term these days. more often than not it is used to describe a drug dependancy.[/p][/quote]or depressed and on the sick, whilst sticking to fingers up to all that try to help, poor me, its not my fault its everyone else. LostFaith.com
  • Score: -5

12:16pm Sat 15 Mar 14

sosad 1 says...

from the start the report is wrong it was south Essex homes who took the case to court and I have sympathy with both sides I had the same problem with a neighbour s e h took him a few times to court always sided with the tenant until he broke a curfew by then a charity had taken this poor chap on and are making sure he is getting the right sort of help lets hope this chap can do the same for his sake and the poor neighbours
from the start the report is wrong it was south Essex homes who took the case to court and I have sympathy with both sides I had the same problem with a neighbour s e h took him a few times to court always sided with the tenant until he broke a curfew by then a charity had taken this poor chap on and are making sure he is getting the right sort of help lets hope this chap can do the same for his sake and the poor neighbours sosad 1
  • Score: 4

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