Multiple Occupation

February 22nd, 2024 by James Goudie KC in Housing

Welwyn Hatfield BC v Wang (2024) UKUT 24 (LC) was concerned with whether Notices of Intent to impose a financial penalty under Section 249A of the Housing Act 2004 were invalid for containing insufficient information. By para 3(a) of Schedule 13A to that Act a Notice of Intent has to  set out the “reasons” for proposing to impose the financial penalty.  The Upper Tribunal says that these reasons have to be “sufficiently clearly and accurately expressed” to enable the recipient landlord to exercise the right, conferred by paragraph 4 of Schedule 13A, to make written representations to the local housing authority about its proposal, to enable the authority to decide whether or not to impose the financial penalty, and, if so, how much.  Similarly, by para 8(b) of Schedule 13A, the final notice had to set out “the reasons for imposing the penalty”.  Those reasons too had to be sufficiently clearly and accurately expressed to enable the recipient landlord to decide whether to exercise the right to appeal to the Tribunal against the decision to impose the penalty or the amount of that penalty.  Those reasons had to be directly referable to the condition of the licence in relation to which it was said that there had been non-compliance on the landlord’s part, and they had to identify clearly and accurately the particular respects in which it was said that there had been non-compliance.  Local housing authorities had to bear firmly in mind that the imposition of a financial penalty was an alternative to a criminal prosecution, and it had to be treated with  the same level of seriousness and transparency.



February 6th, 2024 by James Goudie KC in Housing

The issue in RAHIMI v CITY OF WESTMINSTER COUNCIL (2024) EWCA Civ 73 was whether Mr Rahimi was entitled to a secure tenancy on the death of his grandmother.  That, in turn, depended on whether at the date of her death the grandmother was the tenant under a tenancy of the flat granted to her alone.  The tenancy had originally be granted to her and her husband, as joint tenants, but her husband was no longer living there.  Mr Rahimi was a member of his grandmother’s family and had resided with her throughout the period of 12 months ending with her death.

Lewison LJ at paragraphs 17-22 inclusive identified the statutory framework in relation to secure tenancies.  The effect was that if there was a surrender and regrant amounting to the grant of a fresh tenancy to the grandmother alone, a succession was still available, but if the joint tenancy continued in being, Mr Rahimi would not have been entitled to succeed.  The joint tenancy would have vested by right of survivorship in the grandmother’s husband, at which point the tenancy would have ceased to be a secure tenancy, because the husband did not occupy the property as his home.

From paragraph 28 Lewison LJ addressed the principle of surrender and regrant.  Rights held jointly must be surrendered jointly, by both the joint tenants and by the landlord.  Conduct relied upon must be unequivocal.  Individual equivocal acts can however be combined to surmount the evidential threshold.  From paragraph 40 Lewison LJ considered whether there was unequivocal conduct in this case.  What was required was an agreement by the landlord with the assent of the outgoing tenant.  On the facts, there was no such agreement, and no grant of a new sole tenancy to Mr Rahimi’s grandmother.

Newby LJ agreed with Lewison LJ in dismissing Mr Rahimi’s appeal, and Macur LJ dissented.  Newey LJ said, at paragraph 81:-

“No one suggests that there is direct evidence of a fresh tenancy having been granted.  The question is whether there is material from which a grant could be inferred. In that connection, evidence of conduct which is just as consistent with the continuation of the original joint tenancy will not suffice.”



January 31st, 2024 by James Goudie KC in Housing

In South Oxfordshire District Council  Fertre (2024) EWHC 112 (KB) an individual who had under Section 204 of the Housing Act 1996 was given permission to amend her appellant’s notice. The appeal had, by mistake, identified the wrong local housing authority. The amendment was to specify the correct authority. The appeal which identified the wrong authority was not a nullity. There was power to include the correct respondent by amendment.



December 29th, 2023 by Claire Halas in Housing

In R ( DF ) v v Essex County Council (2023) EWHC 3330 (Admin) the Court holds, at paras 74/75, that the fact that the Claimant was homeless, for the purposes of Section 175 of the Housing Act 1996, did not automatically mean that she required accommodation under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989. The Section 20 question entails a “ separate evaluation of a wide range of factors”.



December 12th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Housing

HUSSAIN v NEWHAM LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL (2023 ) UKUT 287 ( LC ) concerns the making of a Banning Order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. Such an Order prohibits a person from letting property or managing tenanted property. The UT says that the FTT was entitled to admit evidence of spent convictions, and to take account of them when considering whether to make the Order. The words in Sections 15 and 16 of the Act “ has been convicted of a banning order offence “ were not to be construed as covering exclusively convictions that were not spent.



November 29th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Housing

The central issue before the Supreme Court is R (Imam) v London Borough of Croydon (2023) UKSC 45, in which Judgment was given on 28 November 2023, was whether, and, if so, in what way, a local authority’s lack of financial or other resources should be taken into consideration when a Court is deciding whether to grant a Mandatory Order against the authority in order to enforce its undoubted statutory duty (paragraph 37) towards a homeless individual under Section 193(2) of the Housing Act 1996.

Lord Sales explains that Croydon Council is subject to a public law duty which is immediate, non-deferrable, and not qualified by reference to available resources or otherwise (paragraphs 38 and 39). Read more »


Housing Benefit

November 29th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Housing

In relation to entitlement to  Housing Benefit, and circumstances in which a person is or is not to be treated as occupying a dwelling as his or home, Regulation 7 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 provides at Regulation 7(4) that when a Housing Benefit claimant has been “ required “ to move into temporary accommodation by reason of “ essential repairs “ being carried out at the dwelling normally occupied as his or her home , and is liable to make payment in respect of either, but not both, the dwelling which he or she normally occupies as his or home OR the temporary accommodation he or she shall be treated as occupying as his home the dwelling in respect of which he or she is liable to make payments. In SH v SOUTHWARK LBC ( 2023 ) 8 WLUK 397 the Upper Tribunal clarifies that the test under Regulation 7(4) is an objective one, both as regards what constitutes essential repairs and as regards whether there has been a requirement to move into temporary accommodation. It is not a question of what the individual might regard as essential repairs or what the individual might think was sufficient to require a tenant to move out whilst such works were to be carried out. The evaluation is one that should take account of the claimant’s individual characteristics, including factors such as impairment or vulnerability due to ill health.



November 21st, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Housing

In KYLE v COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL (2023) EWCA Civ 1360 the Court of Appeal says at para 42 that (1) there is no need for accommodation to be so bad that a person could not be expected to stay there for another night for there to be homelessness for the purposes of the Housing Act 1996, (2) on the other hand, a person does not have to be entitled to remain in accommodation indefinitely, or for any particular period of time for it to be “ reasonable for him to continue to occupy “ it; (3) neither need he have accommodation which it would be “ reasonable …to continue to occupy” for ever; (4) in general at least Section 175(3) will be satisfied and a person will not be “homeless” if there is accommodation which it would be “ reasonable for him to continue to occupy “over the period which would elapse before the local housing authority re-housed him; (5) the physical characteristics of accommodation will often be of central importance in determining whether it is “ reasonable … to continue to occupy “it; (6) Restrictions affecting the person’s life in , and use of, the accommodation may also be relevant.


Property Guardians

October 30th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Housing

The Court of Appeal in GLOBAL 100 LTD v JIMENEZ ( 2023 ) EWCA Civ 1243 holds that parts of former office buildings included HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION under Section 254 of the Housing Act 2004. The buildings were occupied by “ property guardians “. Their “ only use “ of living accommodation was as their main residence.



October 4th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Housing

In BARKING & DAGENHAM LBC v GBADEGESIN (2023) EWHC 2571 ( KB ) the Council was granted a final injunction to secure compliance with Improvement Notices under Sections 11 & 12 of the Housing Act 2004. The remedial works required by the Notices remained outstanding. That was despite the landlord having been convicted pursuant to Section 30 of the Act of failure to comply with the Notices.