Rough Sleepers

January 21st, 2022 by James Goudie QC in Housing

R (ZLL) v SoS (2022) EWHC 85 (Admin) concerns rough sleepers and the covid pandemic. The claimant alleged a breach of public law duty by adopting an unpublished position in non- conformity with previously published policy. In relation to this ground, Fordham J stated some relevant basic legal points including the following :-

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Houses in Multiple Occupation: December 2021

December 9th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in General, Housing

In Palmview Estates v Thurrock Council (2021) EWCA Civ 1871 the Court of Appeal consider the “reasonable excuse” defence in Section 75 (2) of the Housing Act 2004. There is a defence if, viewed objectively, there is reasonable excuse for having control of or managing a HMO without a licence. The reasonable excuse must relate to the activity of controlling or managing the HMO without a licence.

 

 

HOMELESSNESS AND JOB PROSPECTS

November 26th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Housing

The evidence relating to intentional homelessness is evidence bearing on the reason why the applicant is homeless. The local authority’s investigation duties relate to homelessness, not unemployment. An appreciation of local job prospects is relevant only insofar as it explains why it is that the applicant is homeless. It is not necessarily relevant to the applicant’s homelessness. There may, or may not, be a sufficient linkage between them. The duty to investigate is to make necessary enquiries. It is not a duty to make all possible enquiries. So held in Ciftci v Haringey LBC (2021) EWCA Civ 1772.

 

Use of Private Rented Sector

November 12th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Hajjaj v Westminster and Akhter v Waltham Forest (2021) EWCA Civ 1688 address the use by local housing authorities of the private rented sector in accordance with Sections 148 and 149 of the Localism Act 2011 to bring to an end the main homelessness duty under Section 193(2) in Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. The main question was in what circumstances accommodation should be regarded as not suitable to form the subject of a valid private rented sector offer (PRSO). This is governed by Article 3 of the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012. Accommodation shall not be regarded as suitable where one or more of ten listed conditions applies.

Bean LJ says, at para 70, that suitability is a “multi-faceted concept”. It includes size, location, accessibility, if the applicant is elderly or disabled, as well as the physical condition and other matters. The authority must be satisfied that none of the ten bars to suitability established by Article 3 applies. They must be “satisfied on the basis of evidence rather than assumptions”. He adds, at para 72, that satisfactory hearsay evidence may be enough.

 

Flexible Tenancies

August 9th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Housing

A local housing authority has no power or discretion to accept a request for a review of their proposal not to grant another tenancy on the expiry of the fixed-term of the tenant’s existing flexible tenancy, if that request is made more than 21 days after the service of a notice pursuant to Section 107D(3) of the Housing Act 1985; but when there can be a review the underlying merits may be relevant. So held by Cavanagh J in R (Kalonga) v Croydon LBC (2021) EWHC 2174 (Admin).

 

Allocation Schemes

May 27th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996 deals with the allocation of permanent social housing. Every local housing authority has to have in place allocation scheme. This must be framed so as to secure that a “reasonable preference” is given to certain persons. These include those occupying overcrowded accommodation.

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Rough Sleepers During Covid

March 11th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Housing

R (Ncube) v Brighton & Hove City Council (2021) EWHC 578 (Admin) concerned the powers available to a unitary local authority, with both housing and social care duties and powers, to provide accommodation for rough sleepers with no recourse to public funds. Section 185 of the Housing Act 1996 renders persons from abroad not eligible for housing assistance. Freedman J’s holdings include that there was power in this case for the authority to provide temporary accommodation pursuant to the emergency power under Section 138 of the Local Government Act 1972 and/or Section 2B of the National Health Service Act 2006, and neither of these routes were a circumvention of Section 185 if the unitary was acting as social services rather than housing authority. However, Section 1 of the Localism Act 2011 could not be relied upon. That would be a circumvention of Section 185.

 

LHAs Working with RSLs

December 1st, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

WPPN 02/20 provides Welsh Government guidance on procurement law for Local Housing Authorities working with Registered Social Landlords to deliver Housing Revenue Account development programmes, with particular reference to the Directive 2014/24/EU and PCR 2015 Regulation 12(7) exemption for cooperation between contracting authorities with respect to public services.

 

Homelessness

November 30th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Has a local authority’s main housing duty ceased? Had they made a “ final offer of accommodation” by making a nomination to a housing association? No, says the Court of Appeal in Nikolaeva v Redbridge LBC (2020) EWCA Civ 1586. It might never give rise to the provision of accommodation.

The Court observes that it is essential that review decisions are concise where possible, contain an accurate record of the relevant facts, and are structured in a way which enables the reader easily to follow the conclusions which have been reached and the reasons for those conclusions.

 

Houses in Multiple Occupation

November 20th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Is a local housing authority, in deciding whether a person is a “ fit and proper person” for the purposes of an application to be a licence holder or manager of a house regulated under the Housing Act 2004, is the authority entitled to take into account a person’s spent conviction and the conduct underlining it? This was the question before the. Our team of Appeal in Hussain v Waltham Forest LBC (2020);EWCA Civ 1539. The Court holds that a LHA’s consideration and determination of a grant, or revocation, of a licence under Part 2, or Part 3, of the Housing Act involves proceedings that under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 give the LHA power to consider a spent conviction under that Act, provided that it is satisfied that justice cannot otherwise be done.