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Hussain v Lancaster City Council [1999] 2 WLR 1142  Court of Appeal

The claimants own a shop and residential property which is situated on a housing estate owned by the defendant. The claimants suffered severe harassment, including racial harassment which was predominantly from tenants and their families from the housing estate.  The harassment took the form of congregating outside the shop, intimidation, shouting abuse and threats,  throwing bricks, stones and balls, smashing windows, burning objects put through the door.  The defendant was aware of the harassment from 1991. The council had sent letters to the perpetrators  threatening them with eviction if they continued to harass the claimants, however, this was ineffective and the council did not in fact take possession proceedings against any of the perpetrators. The Council had the power to evict them for causing a nuisance under the tenancy agreements and under the Housing Act 1985. The claimants brought an action against the council for their failure to prevent the nuisance when it was in their power to do so. The defendant Council applied for a strike out which was refused. The council appealed.

Held:

The appeal was allowed and the claim struck out. The case was outside the scope of nuisance since the acts of the perpetrators did not involve the tenants’ use of the tenants’ land. Furthermore the Council had neither authorised nor adopted the nuisance.
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