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

Social Housing case bulletin – March 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.

Boot v Bromford Housing Association Limited

[2017] UKFTT 0182 Property Chamber

17 January 2017

Adverse Possession – Uninterrupted and continuous use

The Claimant applied for adverse possession of a parcel of land between two properties managed by the Defendant housing association. The Claimant stated that he had been using the land without objection since 1977 and now sought to be registered as the proprietor. On the evidence before the judge, it was concluded that the Claimant had not shown sufficient interest in the land until 2013, his use of it being intermittent and not uninterrupted and continuous as the law required. The claim was not made out and his application to the Chief Land Registrar cancelled.



R (on the Application Of Halvai) v Hammersmith And Fulham London Borough Council

No transcript currently available.

Queen’s Bench Division

9 March 2017

Housing – Discretionary housing payment – Disabilities – Autistic Spectrum Disorder

The Claimant applied for judicial review of the Defendant local authority’s decision to refuse her discretionary housing payment (DHP). The Claimant had severe autism and complex accommodation needs. As the Defendant was unable to find social housing for the Claimant, her mother had built an extension which was treated as a separate address. The mother paid for the extension by taking out a mortgage and charged the Claimant rent, applying for DHP of £150 to cover the shortfall between the mortgage payments and housing benefit. The Claimant contended that the Defendant had failed to apply its own policy as the guidance had expressly envisaged longer term awards where the DHP was £150 a week or less. There was no evidence that the Claimant’s individual circumstances had been considered. The decision was quashed and the matter remitted to the Defendant for reconsideration.


R. (on the application of Osman) v London Borough of Harrow

[2017] EWHC 274 Administrative Court

21 February 2017

Housing – Allocation schemes – Discrimination

The Claimant applied for judicial review of the Defendant Council’s decision to award them Band C priority for the purposes of the allocation of housing. The award was made under the Defendant’s amended housing scheme pursuant to Part VI of the Housing Act 1996. The Claimant submitted that the scheme was unlawful on the grounds that it discriminated against people in the private rented sector and did not secure a reasonable preference to persons occupying overcrowded or unsatisfactory housing. The judge held that the preference given to the Claimant’s banding in the scheme had been reasonable for the purposes of the 1996 Act. Application refused.



R. (on the application of S (by his litigation friend, Francesco Jeff) v London Borough of Croydon

[2017] EWHC 265 Administrative Court

24 February 2017

Local authorities’ powers and duties – Statutory guidance – Age assessment – Children

The Claimant was an Iraqi national who had arrived in the UK and claimed asylum. His stated age was fifteen years old, which the Defendant Council did not accept, refusing to provide him with accommodation and support, pending the outcome of an assessment. Statutory guidance issued by the government entitled Care for unaccompanied and trafficked children, clearly stated that where there was a dispute over age, the person in question should be treated as a child until a proper assessment had taken place. The Defendant had acted unlawfully in not following the statutory guidance. The Claimant was to be treated as a child pending the conclusion of his age assessment.



York City Council v Trinity One (Leeds Ltd)

No transcript currently available.

[2017] EWHC 318 Chancery Division

24 February 2017

Town and country planning – Affordable housing – s106 agreements

The Claimant local authority applied to obtain payment from the Defendant developer of an amount to be paid in lieu of providing affordable housing under a section 106 agreement (Town and Country Planning Act 1990). The sum to be paid was in dispute. In addition, at issue was, if the developer’s appeal against the Claimant’s refusal of its application to modify the agreement under s.106BA were successful, would the modification have retrospective effect? The court held that while it was difficult to construe s.106BA as having retrospective effect, it did apply where the obligation to provide affordable housing hadn’t yet arisen or where it had fallen due but not yet been satisfied. The judge concluded that the appropriate sum owed was £553,508. However, were the developer’s appeal to succeed, it would be necessary for the Claimant to discharge or modify the obligation and the Defendant would not be required to pay.