Author Archives: Dave

HB and Exempt accommodation: unreasonably high rent

I admit that SS v Birmingham CC [2013] UKUT 418 (AAC) has been on my to do list for a while and that, possibly, the main reason for finding the time to write it up is because I’m on a two hour strike (#fairpayinHE).  But, it is a really quite important case about the application of the unreasonably high rent rule for “exempt accommodation” in Reg 13 and Sch 3 of the 2006 Housing Benefit regs.  The principal question of law concerns the meaning of “suitable alternative accommodation” in those regs.

Roshni is a charitable organisation providing a women’s refuge for women from the South Asian continent.  They lost their … Read the full post

Posted in Benefits, FLW article, FLW case note, Homeless, Housing law - All | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Benefit cap JR

I’ve been really slow to write this up, for which many apologies, but I have just got bogged down in other things.  The benefit cap JR got lost amongst that other stuff partly because it was almost predictable after MA that the Divisional Court would find a way to uphold it.

Actually, though, having read it again the other day for a different reason, the benefit cap challenge – R(JS) v SSWP [2013] EWHC 3350 (QB) – was very clever (CPAG and Shelter were joined as interveners – CPAG’s arguments can be found here) and the appeal is to be heard pretty soon, having been expedited by Richards LJ. … Read the full post

Posted in Benefits, FLW case note, Housing law - All | Tagged , | 14 Comments

A Christmas gift for you: Contracting out and more

I appreciate that it isn’t exactly pc still to like Phil Spector’s album, but I do think it remains the best of the lot.  And, in a way, Tachie, Terera and Il v Welwyn Hatfield BC [2013] EWHC 3972 (QB) is a Christmas gift for local authorities which have contracted out their homelessness decision-making (on which we have paused for comment a couple of times here and here).  Frankly also, as we shall see, in my view they really got away with it, not just on the contracting out issue but also on some pretty ropey, undoubtedly harsh decision-making.  It’s a bit of a monster of a case, … Read the full post

Posted in FLW case note, Homeless, Housing law - All | Tagged | Leave a comment

Allocations and legitimate expectation

In R(Alansi) v Newham LBC, Stuart-Smith J held that, although Ms Alansi had a legitimate expectation that she would remain a priority homeseeker on Newham’s housing register, Newham had not acted unreasonably and in abuse of its power by withdrawing its representation.  It is a case which demonstrates (again) just how hard it is to shoehorn a genuine grievance into a successful JR challenge, doubly so in the context of a local authority allocation scheme.

Ms Alansi had decided to accept an offer of PRS accommodation made by Newham under s 193, Housing Act 1996, in circumstances in which Newham had clearly and unambiguously (as Stuart-Smith J found) represented … Read the full post

Posted in Allocation, FLW case note | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Allocations Code: Draft Amendments

Although there appears to be a ministerial vacancy for housing policy (–11 h/t to Martin Partington and Jules Birch), quite a lot is happening. There are some interesting goings on about the allocation of social housing.  In a consultation paper (responses by 22nd November 2013 to, Providing social housing for local people, DCLG are suggesting upping the ante by altering the Code of Guidance.  It proposes:

  • the new guidance should “strongly encourage” local authorities to include a two year residency qualification;
  • other criteria for people who are “strongly associated” with the area (eg family association and employment);
  • the need for appropriate exceptions (eg domestic violence);
  • and more stuff about
  • Read the full post

Posted in Allocation, FLW article, Housing law - All | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Bedroom tax JR

The headline here, as has been widely tweeted/flashed etc, is that the challenge to the bedroom tax contained in Regulation B13, Housing Benefit Regulations (both generically and specifically in relation to households with a disabled person) was unsuccessful in the Divisional Court, R (MA) Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWHC 2213, but the Court came close to granting injunctive relief against the Secretary of State to make regulations bringing Burnip/Gorry into effect, as opposed to relying simply on a Circular.  The DWP had argued that they were entitled to rely on guidance by way of Circular “pending a decision on whether and at what point in … Read the full post

Posted in assured-tenancy, Benefits, FLW case note, Housing law - All, secure-tenancy | Tagged , | 17 Comments