Allocation

June 28th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

The decision in  R (Z) v Hackney LBC, noted in this Bulletin on 6 February 2019, has been upheld by the Court of Appeal.  The Court held that the allocation policy of the Agudas Israel Housing Association (“AIHA”) was permitted by Section 193(1) and Section 193(2)(b) of the Equality Act 2010: paragraph 62.  A proportionality assessment was not required.

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Homelessness

June 14th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Samuels v Birmingham City Council (2019) UKSC 28 the Supreme Court quashed the Council’s decision that Ms Samuels was intentionally homeless, on the ground that her accommodation was affordable and reasonable for her to continue to occupy, and that its loss was the result of her deliberate act in failing to pay the rent.  The central issue was whether the Council adopted the correct approach in determining that the accommodation was “affordable” for the purposes of Part VII of the Housing Act 1996, Article 2 of the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) Order 1996, and the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities. The Council was required to take into account all Ms Samuels’ sources of income, including all social security benefits, and to consider all her reasonable living expenses. The question ought to have been what her reasonable living expenses, other than rent, were. This should have been determined having regard to her needs and those of her children.

 

Temporary Accommodation

April 26th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Mohammed v Barnet LBC (2019) EWHC1012 (QB) was an appeal against a decision by HHJ Luba QC at the Central London County Court, following the trial of a preliminary issue in relation to proceedings for possession of residential premises sought by the London Borough of Barnet (“the Council”). By his decision the Judge concluded that the agreement for occupation between the Appellant, Ms Mohamed, and the Council is not an agreement that attracts the security of tenure provisions of the Housing Act 1985 (“the Act”). The appeal raised the issue of whether the occupation of accommodation by Ms Mohamed has secure status for the purposes of Part IV of the Act or whether, as the Council contends, it is a simple non-protected arrangement. This turns on the construction of paragraph 6(b) of Schedule 1 to the Act.  In particular; does paragraph 6(b) require a single provision providing for vacant possession on expiry of a specified period or when required? Or, is it sufficient, in the present case, to simply provide for possession “when required”? Thornton J dismissed the appeal.

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Allocation Policy

April 23rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In conjoined appeals, (2019) EWCA Civ 692, R (Gullu) v Hillingdon LBC and R (Ward) v Hillingdon LBC, the Court of Appeal considered the lawfulness of Hillingdon’s housing allocation policy.  The policy prioritised people who had been resident in the local area for 10 years. That was found to discriminate indirectly against protected groups.

Lewison LJ, with whom Underhill and King LJJ agreed, identified the issue as follows:-

“Hillingdon LBC’s housing allocation policy provides that, subject to exceptions, a person who has not been continuously living in the borough for at least 10 years will not qualify to join the housing register. One of the exceptions is that an unintentionally homeless person who does not satisfy the residence requirement is entitled to join the register; but is placed in band D. Two challenges were brought against the lawfulness of that policy, on the ground that it is indirectly discriminatory on the ground of race; and cannot be justified. One, by Irish Travellers, succeeded before Supperstone J (R (TW) v London Borough of Hillingdon [2018] EWHC 1791 (Admin), [2018] PTSR 1678). The other, by a Kurdish refugee of Turkish nationality, failed before Mostyn J (R (Gullu) v London Borough of Hillingdon [2018] EWHC 1937 (Admin), [2019] HLR 4). Since the courts below reached different answers on substantially the same challenge, I granted permission to appeal.” Read more »

 

Appeal out of time

March 27th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Tower Hamlets London Borough Council v Abdullah Al Ahmed (2019) EWHC 749 (QB) Dove J considered whether an appeal to the County Court in a homelessness case should be treated as out of time under Section 204 of the Housing Act 1996.  Section 204(2A)(b) provides that the Court may give permission for an appeal to be brought after the prescribed 21 day period, but only if the Court is satisfied that there is “good reason”.  Dove J said:-

“11.    A number of important points need to be taken into account when approaching the exercise of discretion under section 204(2A) (b) and considering whether in a case where permission to appeal is sought after the 21 day time limit there is “good reason” for the failure to bring the claim in time. The first point is that the merits of the substance of the appeal are no part of the consideration of this question. … Read more »

 

Intentional Homelessness

March 25th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Godson v Enfield LBC [2019] EWCA Civ 486 Lewison LJ identified the principal intentional homelessness issues on the appeal under the Housing Act 1996, as amended by the Localism Act 2011, as being:-

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Private Sector Enforcement Policy

March 19th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Humber Landlords Association v Hull City Council (2019) EWHC 332 (Admin) was an unsuccessful judicial review challenge to the Council’s decision by its Cabinet to approve a new private sector housing enforcement policy (“the Policy”). By the Policy, the Council has sought to set out how it intends to carry out its obligations under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 (“the 2004 Act”); in particular, how it intends to enforce housing standards and to address hazardous housing conditions. Part 1 of the 2004 Act provides, by Section 1(1):

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Allocation Policy

February 11th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Hillingdon LBC’s 2016 housing allocation policy, pursuant to Section 166A of the Housing Act 1996, was found in some respects to be unlawful in TW v Hillingdon LBC (No. 1) (2018) PTSR 1678. Lawfulness requires compliance not only with the provisions of that Act, but also compliance with the Equality Act 2010, and with obligations under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004. In particular, in TW (No. 1) Supperstone J declared Hillingdon’s 10 year residence qualification to be

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Scheme for allocation of social housing

February 6th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

R (Z and others) v Hackney LBC and Agudas Israel Housing Association (2019) EWHC 139 (Admin) challenged the arrangements made by AIHA for the allocation of social housing properties owned or controlled by AIHA, which in present circumstances in effect preclude any persons who are not members of the Orthodox Jewish community from becoming tenants of such properties. The claim also challenges the lawfulness of Hackney’s arrangements as a local housing authority for the nomination of applicants to these properties, which again in present circumstances in effect precludes any persons who are not members of the Orthodox Jewish community from receiving nominations for the properties owned by AIHA. In short, the claimants contended that these arrangements discriminated against them because they are not members of the Orthodox Jewish community, and are unlawful, principally, under the Equality Act 2010. Read more »

 

Homelessness

February 6th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Kannan v Newham LBC (2019) EWCA Civ 57 is a case of unintentional homelessness and priority need where the “full housing duty” applies, under Section 193 of the Housing Act 1996, and is dischargeable in accordance with Section 206, the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) Order 2012, and Guidance. The issue was whether accommodation provided by the Council for Mr Kannan was “suitable”. Read more »