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Social Housing Case Bulletin

Welcome to this month’s issue of our case law update

Our social housing team are delighted to share recent cases from the higher jurisdiction courts in England and Wales that are relevant to the social 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.

February 2023

Lowe v The Governors of Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse

Case No. H01CL234, Central London County Court

28 October 2022

Landlord and tenant – Assured Shorthold Tenancies – Tenancy deposits

The Claimant was an assured shorthold tenant of the Defendant landlord. He contended that he had not received the statutorily prescribed information for each of the ten tenancies he’d had with the Defendant and sought a statutory penalty for each breach, amounting to over £120,000. The landlord’s agents had made a genuine attempt to comply with the regulations. The court held that the Defendant had met its statutory obligations in relation to the protection of the tenancy deposit and the provision of prescribed information. Claim dismissed. Read transcript

National Community Homes CIC (previously Larch Housing Association) v Regulator of Social Housing

[2022] EWHC 3171 Administrative Court

12 December 2022

Social housing – Regulation – Deregistration

The Appellant housing association (Larch) challenged the Respondent’s decision, dated 17 December 2021, to remove them from the register of social housing providers. The Regulator concluded that Larch had failed to demonstrate its financial viability on an on-going basis. Larch appealed on three grounds: that the decision to de-register Larch was irrational, disproportionate, premature and improper; that it was wrong to find that not sufficient evidence had been provided with regard to its loan agreement with its senior landlord and creditor, SLIL; and, finally, that factual findings made by the Regulator were incorrect. The decision was neither irrational nor disproportionate. In addition, the decision to de-register would have been the same, whether or not the Regulator had been given satisfactory evidence of a loan agreement between Larch and SLIL. The decision had to stand or fall on the information known to the Regulator on 17 December 2021. Appeal dismissed. Read transcript

Norton v Haringey LBC

[2022] EWCA Civ 1340
Court of Appeal

19 October 2022

Local housing authorities’ powers and duties – Homelessness – Suitability

The Appellant challenged the dismissal of their appeal under s.204 of the Housing Act 1996 against decisions made by the Respondent Council. Four of the six grounds of appeal dealt with the statutory framework in relation to homelessness, contending that the duties of s.193 of the Housing Act 1996 had not been met. Although making an offer of private sector rented accommodation, the Council had not informed the Appellant of the effect of s.195A(2), when that was required by s.193(7AB)(c); nor had they satisfied themselves that the Appellant was able to bring to an end his existing obligations as required by s.193(7F)(ab) and s.193(8). Furthermore, the terms of The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 art.3 had not been met, as the Council had not inspected the property nor received a reliable report on it before approving the offer. The decision was quashed and a declaration made that the duty to secure that accommodation was available for occupation by the applicant, imposed by s.193(2), continued. Appeal allowed. Read transcript

Rowe v London Borough of Haringey

[2022] EWCA Civ 1370
Court of Appeal

21 October 2022

Housing – Homelessness – Overcrowding – Housing assistance

This case was a second appeal challenging the refusal of the Appellant’s application for housing assistance on the basis that she was homeless because it was not reasonable for her to continue her occupation of a house. The Appellant lived with her two young children in a multi-occupancy house, with exclusive use of one room and shared use of communal facilities. She contended that the provisions of Part X of the Housing Act 1985 had been breached in relation to overcrowding. The provisions of Part X of the 1985 Act did not apply to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) as a whole, only to an occupant’s separate accommodation within the house. An HMO did not come within the definition of a “dwelling” in s.343. The room and space standards in s.325 and s.326 had to be applied to each of the separate units of accommodation within the house rather than the house in its entirety. The Appellant’s room was not statutorily overcrowded as neither the room standard nor the space standard had been contravened. Appeal dismissed. Read transcript


Your key contacts

Lindsay Felstead


Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Southampton and Taunton
Lindsay is Head of our Housing Management team and jointly leads our Social Housing sector team. Lindsay was called to the Bar in 2000 and subsequently admitted as a Solicitor in 2005.
View profile for Lindsay Felstead >

Vicky Kells

Partner/Head of Cardiff Office

Vicky is head of our Cardiff office and jointly leads our Social Housing sector team and specialises in charging affordable housing portfolios.
View profile for Vicky Kells >

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