Water and Sewerage Charges

December 3rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames v Moss (2019) EWHC 3261 (Ch) was concerned with council houses and flats where the supply of water is not metered, and where the water authority does not bill the council tenants, but does bill the Council. Mr Moss, a secure tenant, was obliged to pay “water charges” to the Council, his landlord. The issue was as to the calculation of those charges, pursuant to the tenancy Read more »



November 20th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Waltham Forest LBC v Saleh (2019) EWCA Civ 1944 the Court of Appeal held that, in conducting a review of a homelessness decision the review officer had to reconsider the decision in the light of all the relevant circumstances at the date of the review, and was not limited to a reconsideration of the facts as they stood at the date of the original decision. For that reason, a review officer who was asked to reconsider a decision to provide accommodation for a family outside the local housing authority’s own district ought to have taken account of the availability, as at the date of review, of any suitable accommodation either within or closer to that district.


The One Succession Rule

November 4th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

The decision of Murray J in Haringey Council v Simawi (2018) EWHC 2733 (QB), Local Government Bulletin 23 October 2018, has now been upheld on 31 October 2019, by the Court of Appeal, (2019) EWCA Civ 1770. Lewison LJ, with whom Bean and Baker LJJ agreed, began his Judgment as follows:-

“1.        The issue on this appeal is whether the statutory provisions governing succession to secure tenancies unlawfully discriminate against Mr Simawi because of his status.”

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October 23rd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Guiste v Lambeth LBC (2019) EWCA Civ 1758 was a housing (further) appeal which, as so often, raised the question whether the appellant had a priority need for homelessness accommodation on the basis that he was vulnerable, within the meaning of Section 189(1)(c) of the Housing Act 1996 (“HA 1996”). Henderson LJ, with whom Rose LJ and Theis J agreed, said, at paragraph 45, that the legal principles which apply in deciding whether an appellant is vulnerable, within the meaning of that provision, are mainly to be derived from the two leading cases of Hotak (in the Supreme Court) and  Panayiotou (in the Court of Appeal).  Henderson LJ stated, at paragraph 46, that the following principles may be derived from Hotak:-

 “(a)    Section 189(1)(c) is concerned with an applicant’s vulnerability if he is homeless. It directs an enquiry as to his situation if he remains or becomes a person without accommodation: see the judgment of Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury PSC at [37]. Read more »


Secure Tenancy

July 29th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In general, a secure tenancy cannot be brought to an end and possession obtained unless the local authority has both established one or more of the grounds set out in Schedule 2 to the consolidating Housing Act 1985 (“HA 1985”) and served a Notice pursuant to Section 83 of HA 1985.  The form that such a Notice must take is prescribed by Regulations.

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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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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 »