An Equitable Interest

Licenses are for lodgers, not lifetimes. Lodging is a contingency facility for the young upwardly mobile or for those temporarily in need of somewhere to live. We almshouse residents on the other hand are in it for the long haul – the remainder of our lives. Thus we should acquire an equitable interest in our homes; an interest that should transcend the indignity of licenses. The courts have historically recognised an equitable interest in real property (vide the Statute of Uses of 1535 and its entail). We perceive a modern analogy in which the almshouse trust is the legal owner and the almshouse resident is the beneficial owner. The fact that the postulated beneficial owner is paying the tax on the property reinforces this analogy.

As we have said elsewhere, almshouses, etymological derivation notwithstanding, are not grace-and-favour apartments to be gifted by a living hand; almshouse trustees are appointees constrained by an historical trust deed to deliver specified services. Untrammelled autonomy was never part of the concept.

The fact that we housing outlaws are mostly elderly folk, some in failing health and of diminished cognitive ability, means our relegation to mere licensees amounts to little more than age discrimination, if not actual elderly abuse.

Along with that relegation went our Human Rights.

Go now to Human Rights