HMOs

March 23rd, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

The manager of a house in multiple occupation charged with committing an offence has the burden of establishing, on the balance of probabilities, the defence of reasonable excuse under Section 234(3) of the Housing Act 2004. So held in  IR MANAGEMENT  LTD v SALFORD CITY COUNCIL (2020) UKUT 81 (LC).

 

Judicial Review

March 20th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In R ( NOLSON ) v STEVENAGE BOROUGH COUNCIL (2020) EWCA 379, at paragraph 18, the Court of Appeal, per Hickinbottom LJ, gives important guidance on applications, including not least applications for interim relief.

 

Homelessness

February 28th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

A family are homeless, but not intentionally. They are in priority need. The local housing authority has (1) made a decision that their existing accommodation is not “suitable” for their needs and (2) accepted that it has a duty, under Section 193(2) of the Housing Act 1996, to provide accommodation.  In AM v Newham (2020) EWIC 327 (Admin) it is held by Linden J, following a review of the relevant case law, that the authority is in continuing breach of its duty if it leaves them in their existing accommodation, even for a short period, and even if a reasonable time is required in which to secure suitable alternative accommodation.

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Delay in Bringing Homelessness Appeal

February 3rd, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Housing

In Ahmed v Tower Hamlets LBC (2020) EWCA Civ 51 the Court of Appeal considered the approach to be adopted towards the assessment of a “good reason” for delay in bringing an appeal under Section 204 of the Housing Act 1996 against an adverse review decision under the homelessness provisions of that Act, in circumstances where the reason put forward for the delay is that the applicant was unrepresented and was seeking legal aid. The time limit for bringing such an appeal is 21 days, and that (paragraph 35) remains the “basic rule”. The Court of Appeal said that (1) the “good reason” requirement provides a straightforward statutory test to which no gloss is or should be applied: paragraph 24; (2) the Mitchell/Denton principles should not be applied to the assessment: paragraph 29; (3) difficulties in obtaining legal aid and representation should be taken into account and given appropriate weight: paragraph 34; (4) when these are put forward as a reason for non-compliance with the time limit, the circumstances will need to be examined with care: paragraph 35; and (5) even if the Court is satisfied as to “good reason” that simply opens up a discretion to allow an appeal to be brought out of time, taking account of all relevant considerations, including the position of the local authority: ibid.

 

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 »

 

Homelessness

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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Homelessness

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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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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