A council failed to stop an alleged drugs dealer using "dirty money" to buy his fortified council house yesterday. The Court of Appeal held it was bound by previous legal rulings to reject Bristol City Council's attempt to prevent the tenant taking advantage of the Government's 1985 right-to-buy legislation. Unless it succeeds in an appeal to the House of Lords, the council now faces the prospect of having to transfer the freehold of the house to the man, who is currently in prison awaiting trial on drugs charges which he denies.
Lord Woolf, Master of the Rolls, said the tenant's application for a court injunction enforcing his right to buy was heard and granted by a county court judge before the council's intended claim that he should be evicted because of his criminal operations. "Reluctantly and after some heart-searching", the court was bound to follow legal precedent to the effect that, once a secure tenant had established his right to buy, the landlord could not stop him by pleading public policy or hardship to other tenants.
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