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.

Read more »

 

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.

 

Anonymity

November 12th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Section 166(4) of the Housing Act 1996 provides that the fact that a person has applied for an allocation of social housing is not to be divulged without their consent to any other member of the public. However, in XXX v Camden LBC (2020) EWCA Civ 1468 the Court of Appeal holds that does not extend to entitlement to anonymity when seeking judicial review of a local authority decision about such an allocation, even when medical information is involved. A balancing exercise of the relevant interests, including open justice, has to be carried out.

 

Fiduciary Duty

November 9th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In R ( Clark ) v Birmingham City Council (2020);EWCA Civ 1468 the Court of Appeal held that the Council had not acted unlawfully in deciding to incur spending on retrofitting sprinklers in its tower blocks, held under Part 2 of the Housing Act 1985. It did not owe a fiduciary duty to the tenant claimant.

 

Water and Sewerage Charges

October 27th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

The first instance Judgments in Jones v Southwark and Kingston v Moss, noted in this Bulletin on 3 December 2019, have been upheld by the Court of Appeal: (2020) EWCA Civ 1381. The Councils are resellers within the meaning of the Water Resale Order 2006, Thames Water Utilities having contractually supplied water and sewerage services to the authority, not to its tenants.

 

 

Invalid Notice

July 8th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

An assured tenancy cannot generally be brought to an end except through a Court Order that is subject to the landlord having served a Notice in accordance with Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. It is held in Jarvis v Evans (2020) EWCA Civ 854 that a Section 8 Notice in breach of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 is invalid. The Court of Appeal observes that if notices served in breach of the 2014 Act licensing regime were nonetheless effective tenants would be reliant on local authorities for enforcement of that regime, whereas local authorities have many demands on limited resources. The legislative intent was that tenants should not be left dependent on local authorities : paras 42(iv) and 45/46.

 

Houses in Multiple Occupation

June 17th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

Is a building an HMO? Yes, if the building has been converted into flats, albeit self contained and with no shared amenities, and two conditions are both satisfied : less than two thirds of the flats are owner-occupied; and the conversion work failed to comply, and still does not comply, with the “ appropriate building standards “, under the Building Regulations. So held in Hastings BC v Turner (2020) UKUT 184 (LC), interpreting Sections 254 and 257 of the Housing Act 2004, and allowing the Council’s appeal. There are five separate and alternative tests for determining whether a building is an HMO. One of them is satisfied in the above situation.