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

Social Housing Case Bulletin – July 2016

Clarke Willmott LLP’s social housing team are delighted to provide you with 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 the partners mentioned below.

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.


Cawrey Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & anor

[2016] EWHC 1198 Administrative Court

23 May 2016

Town and country planning – Residential development – National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The Claimant applied to quash an Inspector’s decision which dismissed their appeal against the refusal to grant planning permission for a residential development. The Defendant had advised the Claimant that their original plans lacked the density of housing required. Revised plans were submitted only to be rejected by the Defendant. The grounds of challenge were: (1) the Inspector had failed to provide adequate reasons, or had taken into account immaterial considerations; (2) had failed to consider the nature and extent of any conflict with planning policies; and (3) had failed to consider whether the scheme addressed sustainable development in terms of the policy in NPPF, in particular in relation to affordable housing. The claim was dismissed.
Read more button


Derwent Housing Association Ltd v Taylor

No transcript currently available.

[2016] EWCA Civ 508 Court of Appeal

19 January 2016

Landlord and tenant – Assured shorthold tenancy – Notice to quit – Right to occupy

The Respondent appealed against a decision that he was not entitled to remain in occupation of the former matrimonial home following the service of a valid notice to quit by his wife, the sole tenant, who had left the property. The issue in this case was whether, in light of the notice to quit, “home rights” under s.30 of the Family Law Act 1996 were conferred upon the Respondent. It was held that no home rights accrued to the Respondent once the tenancy had been validly terminated, nor was the decision incompatible with European Convention on Human Rights. Appeal dismissed.


McDonald (by her litigation friend) v McDonald and others

[2016] UKSC 28 Supreme Court

15 June 2016

Landlord and tenant – Possession – Human rights – Proportionality

The Appellant appealed against a possession order evicting her from the property which she occupied under an assured shorthold tenancy. She had suffered ill mental health since childhood and had lost two public sector tenancies due to her behaviour. The landlords had bought the property for her, but had fallen into arrears with the mortgage repayments. The Court of Appeal had held that there was no alternative other than to make a possession order under the Housing Act 1988 s.21(4), stating that the court had no power to consider proportionality under the Human Rights Act 1998. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the appeal.
Read more button


R (on the application of N) v Greenwich London Borough Council

No transcript currently available.


25 May 2016

Local authorities’ powers and duties – Children – Interim accommodation

The Claimant child applied for interim accommodation pending his judicial review application of the Defendant’s decision that he was not a child in need under s.17 of the Children Act 1989. The child was a French citizen but had always lived in the UK with his mother, but she was not entitled to housing assistance because of her immigration status. She and the child had been evicted and had applied to the local authority for housing. The Claimant argued that the Defendant’s decision was unreasonable and irrational; that his mother’s immigration status denied her the right to rent privately and that they would otherwise be homeless. It would be detrimental to the child if he did not have appropriate accommodation and were separated from his mother. The local authority had to provide accommodation until the judicial review application was heard. Application granted.


R. (on the application of Plant) v Somerset County Council & Taunton Deane District Council

[2016] EWHC 1245 Administrative Court

26 May 2016

Local authorities’ powers and duties – Possession – Trespass

The Claimant sought permanent accommodation from a housing authority. He had complex medical and social needs and was a trespasser on land that Somerset County Council (SCC) owned and wished to sell. The Claimant made a homelessness application to Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) which accepted a housing duty towards him. The Claimant wished to prevent SCC obtaining an order for possession until TDBC had provided him with suitable accommodation. TDBC had made the Claimant a formal offer which it considered to be suitable. Despite this, the Claimant remained on SCC’s land. The Claimant had not acted reasonably in entering and remaining on the land and had always been aware of the risk of eviction. The claim for judicial review was dismissed.
Read more button


R. (on the application of Smajlaj) v London Borough of Waltham Forest

[2016] EWHC 1240 Administrative Court

26 May 2016

Local authorities’ powers and duties – Housing – Priority need

This case was a claim for judicial review brought against the Defendant local authority alleging that, having concluded that the Claimant was not in ‘priority need’, it failed to perform its duty under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996. The Claimant was a single woman who had been the victim of human trafficking. In particular, the Claimant contended that the Defendant had failed to provide appropriate advice and assistance and accommodation in the exercise of its discretion. It was held that the Defendant has acted unlawfully by failing to carry out its duties. A “housing needs” assessment was required before a housing authority could assess whether and how to exercise its discretion to accommodate. Application granted.
Read more button