Woman in 70s loses right to stay in Plaistow home where she grew up

Lil Forkner outside her home for the Queen's 87th birthday

Lil Forkner outside her home for the Queen's 87th birthday - Credit: Archant

A woman in her late seventies has lost a legal battle to stay in the house she has lived in her whole life.

Lillian Forkner was told by the Court of Appeal today she must give up possession of the mid-terrace home in Liddon Road, Plaistow because she has failed to maintain or insure it.

Miss Forkner believed she was protected by an arrangement, long ago agreed with family members, that waived her responsibility for the home’s upkeep.

But two appeal judges have ruled the waiver ran out with the latest change of ownership.

Lord Justice Moore-Bick, sitting with Lord Justice McCombe, described how Miss Forkner grew up at Liddon Road with her parents, her brother Brian and sister Pamela, and remained living there with her parents after her brother and sister left home.

Ownership passed to Brian and Pamela under a will made by their mother, who died in 1985, but they agreed Miss Forkner should go on living in the house for as long as she wanted without paying rent, said the judge.

Miss Forkner carried on living in the property when it was sold in 2008 to a company called Landmark Investments.com Ltd.

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In September 2011, Landmark sold the house to Mohammed Chaudhary “at a price which reflected Ms Forkner’s right to occupy it during her life”, subject to her maintaining the property.

Two years later Mr Chaudhary transferred the property to Zas Ventures Ltd, a company of which his son, Asad Chaudhary, was a director.

The previous year Asad had obtained a survey report on behalf of his father which had identified defects requiring immediate repair at Liddon Road.

In October 2013, possession proceedings were issued by Zas Ventures against Ms Forkner on the grounds that she was in breach of the conditions requiring her to insure the property and keep it in good repair.

Lord Justice Moore-Bick said Miss Forkner admitted the breaches but claimed that successive owners of the house had waived her obligations “or acquiesced in her failure to perform them”.

However, Central London county court judge Diana Faber ruled that Zas Ventures had been legally entitled to end the waiver in a December 2012 solicitors’ letter.

Dismissing Ms Forkner’s appeal against that ruling, Lord Justice Moore-Bick said the 2012 letter had made clear that she was “expected to comply with her repairing obligations in the future”.

He said Miss Forkner’s failure to take steps to halt the steady decline of the property since then justified Judge Faber’s order that she must give up possession.