Succession to secure tenancy

February 21st, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Haringey LBC v Simawi (2018) EWHC 290 (QB) the Council refused to allow the Defendant to succeed to a secure tenancy on the basis of the “no second succession rule”.  The Defendant contended that this rule, contained in Sections 87-88 of the Housing Act 1985 (“HA 1985”), is incompatible with Articles 8 and 14 of the ECHR. In summary, it was contended that the relevant sections of  HA 1985 treat differently a tenant whose partner dies and a tenant whose marriage/civil partnership with his/her partner had broken-down. In the former case, the tenant is treated as a successor under Sections 87-88 of HA 1985. In the latter case, if the tenancy was assigned under a property assignment order made in matrimonial proceedings, then the person remaining in residence would become a tenant de novo. In consequence, the Defendant contended that a child who would otherwise satisfy the succession requirements of HA 1985 is treated less favourably if his/her parent was a sole tenant because of death than as a result of relationship breakdown. Read more »

 

Housing need

January 23rd, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Jelson Ltd v SoS for CLG and Hinckley & Bosworth BC (2018) EWCA Civ 24 the Court of Appeal has restated (1) that national policy and guidance does not dictate exactly how a decision-maker is to go about identifying a realistic and reliable figure for housing need, against which to test the relevant supply, (2) that responsibility for the assessment of housing need lies with the decision-maker, and that (3) the scope for a reasonable and lawful planning judgment is broad.

 

Shortfall in supply

November 27th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that housing applications should be considered in the context of the (paragraph 14) presumption in favour of sustainable development and that policies for housing supply should not be regarded as up to date if the Local Planning Authority is unable to demonstrate a five-year supply.

In Hallam Land Management Ltd v SoS for CLG and Eastleigh Borough Council (2017) EWHC 2865 (Admin) Supperstone J ruled (paragraphs 22/23) that where there is a shortfall the SoS is not required in every case to determine the precise extent of the shortfall.  The key question is whether the housing land supply is above or below five years. Read more »

 

Agency

November 22nd, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Haringey LBC v Ahmed (2017) EWCA Civ 1861, where the Council claimed possession of a property, the Court of Appeal held, in allowing the Council’s appeal against the dismissal of its claim, that a Judge had been wrong to find that a husband who had taken sole responsibility for securing accommodation for his family had acted as agent for his wife when entering into a secure tenancy in their joint names. The Judge’s finding that the wife had not been involved in, or informed about, the tenancy meant that the usual characteristics of an agency were absent, in the absence of agency, the husband had been the sole tenant.  Therefore, when he left the property, the wife could not defend possession proceedings on the basis that she was a joint tenant. Read more »

 

Homelessness

October 20th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Hotak v Southwark LBC (2016) AC 811 the Supreme Court ruled that “vulnerable” for priority need purposes connotes “significantly” more vulnerable than ordinarily vulnerable as a result of being rendered homeless.  But what is meant by “significantly” in this context?  The Court of Appeal has attempted to answer that question in joint appeals Panayiotou v Walsham Forest LBC and Smith v Haringey LBC, (2017) EWCA Civ 1624.  It means “at risk of more harm in a significant way”. That is an evaluative judgment in relation to any given set of facts: paragraph 64. Read more »

 

Secure Tenancy

October 6th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Housing

The Court of Appeal has held in Harris v Hounslow LBC (2017) EWCA Civ 1476 that a secure tenant was not entitled to a statutory review of the local housing authority’s decision to apply for an anti-social behaviour  possession order, because he had applied outside the 7 day period laid down by Section 85ZA(2) of the Housing Act 1985.  Nor can the 7 day period be extended or waived.  The purpose of this mandatory ground for possession (the most serious cases of anti-social behaviour) is swifter relief for victims, witnesses and the community. In the public interest speedy relief is of the essence.  Lewison LJ added (para 27) that “the general application of public law principles must not be allowed to undermine the legislative scheme of this mandatory ground of possession”.

 

Homelessness

August 18th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Protection from eviction legislation applies when accommodation is occupied “as a dwelling”. When an applicant for homelessness assistance is being housed by a local authority pursuant to its interim housing duty the occupation of the premises provided is not occupation “as a dwelling”. However, as has been held in Dacorum Borough Council v Bugnall (2017) EWHC 2094 (QB), once the (same) accommodation comes to be provided (even temporarily) in fulfilment of the full housing duty it becomes occupied “as a dwelling”.

 

 

Housing

July 31st, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Housing

The appeal in Ealing LBC v R (H) (2017) EWCA 1127 concerned the lawfulness of the Council’s housing allocation policy insofar as it set aside a small but not insignificant proportion of letting for working households and model tenants. It had been alleged that the former unjustifiably discriminated, indirectly, against women, the elderly and the disabled, and that the letter discriminated, directly, against non- council tenants. The claim was based on ss 19,29 and 149 of EA 2010, Arts 8 & 14 of ECHR and s 11 of CA 2004. The Court of Appeal allowed the Council’s appeal.

 

 

Intentional Homelessness

July 7th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Housing

 

The case of Alfonso-da-Trindade v Hackney LBC (2017) EWCA Civ 942 concerns becoming becoming homeless intentionally and Section 191 of the Housing Act 1996, which provides (emphasis added):-

“(1)     A person becomes homeless intentionally if he deliberately does or fails to do anything in consequence of which he ceases to occupy accommodation which is available for his occupation and which it would have been reasonable for him to continue to occupy. Read more »

 

Allocation

June 1st, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In R (C) v Islington LBC (2017) EWHC 1288 (Admin) Jeremy Baker J has held that the Council’s local lettings policy is lawful. It is not unlawfully discriminatory contrary to the ECHR (paragraphs 64-94) : it is proportionate and justified. For the same reason it is not contrary to Section 29 of the Equality Act 2010 (paragraphs 95-98). The Council had complied with the PSED when it introduced the policy (paragraphs 99-105). Introducing and maintaining the policy was not in breach of Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 (paragraphs 106-115).