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

Social housing case bulletin – July 2017

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.

Abdulrahman v Circle 33 Housing Trust Ltd

No transcript currently available.

Court of Appeal

29 June 2017

Anti-social behaviour injunctions – Service – Committal orders

The Appellant appealed against a committal order made against him for breaching the terms of an anti-social behaviour injunction. The injunction had been served by an alternative method under Civil Procedure Rules r.81.8 by posting it through his letterbox. The terms of the injunction prohibited the Appellant from blocking the landlord or their employees or contractors’ access to the property. This the Appellant had done on two occasions. The judge had been entitled to make a committal order against the Defendant on the evidence that he had prevented access to his property for the purpose of carrying out repairs. A sentence of 28 days was imposed, suspended for two years. Appeal dismissed.

 

Hertfordshire County Council v Davies

[2017] EWHC 1488 Queen’s Bench Division

21 June 2017

Housing – Possession – Accommodation provided with employment

The Claimant local authority brought proceedings for possession against the Defendant school caretaker. The Defendant occupied a property owned by the Claimant when he was employed as the caretaker at a School. The Defendant was later dismissed for gross misconduct. His appeals against that decision were unsuccessful. The Defendant raised various arguments concerning his tenure to defend the possession proceedings. However, it was held that the exception in the Housing Act 1985 Sch.1 para.2, concerning premises occupied by employees in connection with their employment, was not incompatible with Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Claimant was entitled to possession of the property.

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Hill v Helix Housing Association

[2017] UKUT 238 Lands Chamber

7 June 2017

Landlord and tenant – Rent determination – Fair rent

The Appellant appealed against a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) to register the fair rent payable under his regulated tenancy that was nearly twice what he had been paying. The Rent Acts (Maximum Fair Rent) Order 1999 imposed a maximum increase by reference to the UK retail prices index plus 5%. However, the flat had undergone refurbishment and the FTT concluded that the exemption in Article 2 of the 1999 Order applied. The Upper Tribunal held it was impossible to comprehend what the FTT had meant in a critical part of its decision. In addition, the Defendant housing association had since taken legal advice and requested that the appeal be allowed. The FTT’s judgment was set aside and the case remitted for reconsideration.

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R. (on the application of C) v London Borough of Islington

[2017] EWHC 1288 (Admin)

31 May 2017

Housing – Allocation schemes – Discrimination

The Claimant applied for judicial review of a lettings policy contained in the Defendant local authority’s housing allocation scheme. The Claimant contended that the scheme unlawfully discriminated against victims of domestic violence and thus women, contrary to Articles 8 and 14 of European Convention of Human Rights. The judge held that, although the scheme was discriminatory, this was justified as it struck a “fair and proportionate balance between the relevant considerations”. However, the procedure by which the Defendant operated direct offers of social housing under the scheme was unlawful. The Defendant’s original decision and its review were, therefore, also unlawful.

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R (on the application of CO & Anor) v Lewisham London Borough Council

No transcript currently available.

Administrative Court

16 June 2017

Local authorities’ powers and duties – Children – Assessments

The Claimants in this case were siblings, aged 8 and 11 years old. They applied for judicial review of the Defendant local authority’s finding that they were not children in need under the Children Act 1989. The Claimants submitted that their needs had been inadequately assessed and that the Defendant’s decision was irrational, procedurally unfair and not compliant with their statutory duties. The judge held that the Defendant’s duty under the Children Act was ongoing and, once the family were no longer in stable accommodation, it had a duty to reassess their needs. The Defendant had failed in obtaining a full and proper assessment of the family’s situation and serious omissions had been made. Judgment for the Claimants.

 

Walsall Housing Group v Robinson

Walsall County Court

30 May 2017

Anti-social behaviour – Breach of injunction – Sentencing

The Defendant was subject to an anti-social behaviour injunction prohibiting him, or anyone else, from creating a disturbance or excessive noise in the property he occupied. The Claimant was a social housing provider and owner of the property. Despite warnings, several further serious breaches had taken place. The root problem was the behaviour of his daughter and not the Defendant himself. However, it was evident he was incapable of controlling her behaviour. The Defendant had signed a deed of surrender and moved out of the property. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended on the grounds that he did not return to the property for any reason.

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