Article on Reading Borough Council and Tina Holland’s 2023 Appeal Decision


In Reading Borough Council v Tina Holland [2023] EWHC 1902 (ch) the Court considered the application of PSED in housing possession proceedings, examining its impact on vulnerable individuals and the duty of public authorities to consider equality and human rights when making decisions that affect individuals’ housing rights. This article explores the background of the case and the implications of the appeal decision.

The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

The PSED, introduced by the Equality Act 2010, requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations between different groups. This duty applies when making decisions that could impact individuals’ lives, including housing possession cases. Public authorities, including local councils, must consider the potential discriminatory effects of their actions and actively work towards promoting equality and protecting vulnerable individuals.

The Case: Reading Borough Council vs. Tina Holland

Reading brought possession proceedings against Holland due to arrears of rent. Holland was a vulnerable individual who lived with a disability. During the proceedings, Holland argued that the Council had not adequately considered her specific circumstances and needs, breaching their obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

The Implications of the Appeal Decision

On appeal, the Court ruled in favour of Holland, highlighting that the Council had failed in its duty to consider the PSED when seeking possession of her home. The Court emphasised that public authorities cannot treat vulnerable individuals facing eviction solely as defaulters or arrears cases without considering their specific circumstances and potential protected characteristics under the Equality Act.

Neglecting to consider factors such as disability, age, race, or gender when seeking possession can result in a breach of the PSED and a violation of human rights. This reinforces that PSED is not just a procedural box-ticking exercise; instead, it demands a genuine consideration of the potential impact of decisions on individuals and communities.

Public authorities must be able to demonstrate a conscious effort to assess the consequences of their actions on equality and human rights, and to take appropriate measures to mitigate adverse effects where possible.

Looking Forward: Implications for Future Housing Possession Cases

The decision gives a good indicator of the lengths that public authorities are expected to go to when considering bringing a claim for possession. The case is highly likely to be cited by tenant Solicitors when representing vulnerable clients facing eviction.


The judgment in Reading Borough Council v Holland serves as a crucial reminder of the significance of the Public Sector Equality Duty in housing possession cases.

It reiterates the importance for landlords to robustly consider individual circumstances and protected characteristics, ensuring that vulnerable individuals are not unfairly subjected to eviction without due regard to their circumstances.

Read the full case here:

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