Published in Solicitors Journal.
There are some 35,000 almshouse residents in this country, and in the recent case of Watts v Stewart  EWCA Civ 1247 the Court of Appeal considered whether all or some of them are entitled to security of tenure. The case may also have wider significance as the decision relates to charitable providers of accommodation, albeit in this case almshouses.
Ms Watts was allocated a property by the charity by letter of appointment in 2004. That letter made reference to a ‘rent’. Some ten years later, the trustees of the charity served a notice to quit on Ms Watts. She argued that she had exclusive possession of the property and was a periodic tenant, thereby affording her security of tenure.