A person holds the silhouette of a family house in their hands

Social Housing Case Bulletin – July 2014

Clarke Willmott LLP’s social housing team are delighted to present our monthly case law update which includes cases within the last month from the higher jurisdiction courts in England and Wales that are relevant to the affordable housing sector.

We trust that this update will be helpful and we welcome any queries or further help that we can provide by contacting  Kary Withers, Head of Housing Management.

Keeping abreast of the latest case law is an important aspect of advice to our clients in delivering the highest quality legal services and we trust you will find this a useful update within your business.

Birmingham City Council v Beech

[2014] EWCA Civ 830 Court of Appeal
17th June, 2014

Landlord and tenant – Housing – Undue influence

The relationship between a landlord’s agent and a tenant under a contractual periodic tenancy was not inherently a relationship of trust and confidence and, therefore, not one where the presumption of undue influence could arise. Several issues were raised in defence to this claim for possession, but there were only two grounds of appeal. Firstly, that the notice to quit must be presumed to have been procured by the undue influence; and secondly, that the Council’s decision to bring possession proceedings was unlawful because an assessment of the tenant’s mental capacity had not been made. Appeal dismissed.

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Grand Union Investments Ltd v Dacorum Borough Council

[2014] EWHC 1894 Administrative Court
12th June, 2014

Town and country planning – Local authority core strategy – Housing assessment

This case considered whether a local planning authority could lawfully adopt its core strategy without first having fully assessed the housing needs of its area. The Defendant Council stated its strategy was lawful and entirely reasonable. The Claimant contended that it was not, on the grounds that it was irrational in the light of government policy under the National Planning Policy Framework and the regime for strategic environmental assessment. Application dismissed.

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Haile v Waltham Forest LBC

[2014] EWCA Civ 792 Court of Appeal
13th June, 2014

Housing – Intentional homelessness – Date

In an application for accommodation as a homeless person under the Housing Act 1996 Part VII, the decision-maker had to consider whether homelessness was intentional at the date when the applicant quit her accommodation, not at the date of the local authority’s decision. Din v Wandsworth London Borough Council [1983] AC 657 required the decision-maker to consider whether homelessness was “intentional” at the date when the appellant quit her accommodation. The case remained good law and was binding. Appeal dismissed.

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R. (on the Application of The Forge Field Society) v Sevenoaks District Council

[2014] EWHC 1895 Administrative Court
12th June, 2014

Town and country planning – Affordable housing – Bias

Planning permission had been granted twice for the development of affordable housing on a particular site. The first was no longer in dispute. However, the second grant was challenged on the grounds that it was tainted by the risk of bias, because it was granted when the Council was fighting the claim for judicial review against the first decision. It was further claimed that the Council had failed to discharge its duties under the Listed Buildings and Conservation Act 1990 and the National Planning Policy Framework. Both claims for judicial review succeeded. The planning permissions granted were quashed and were to be re-determined.

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Temur v London Borough of Hackney

[2014] EWCA Civ 877 Court of Appeal
26th June, 2014

Housing – Homelessness – Officers

The Appellant applied for accommodation as a homeless person under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996. The Council decided that she was homeless and eligible for assistance, but not in priority need. The Appellant applied for a review of that decision. She then obtained a shorthold tenancy of a property, which led the Council’s review officer to decide that she was not homeless. The review officer was entitled to substitute a less favourable decision than the original decision, because circumstances had changed. Appeal dismissed.

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