A longer waiting to wait

Barnet Council are consulting on changes to their 2012 Allocation policy. The main change proposed is that the current ‘residence requirement’ of two years be increased to five years. That is to say that no-one would be eligible for Barnet’s housing register without five years demonstrable residence in the borough.  (And yes, this applies to the homeless equally). They are not the only London council to consider five years residence requirement – so are LB Southwark – but their stated reason for the increase is specifically because:

Increased costs in inner London combined with restrictions on housing benefit has resulted in more households moving to outer London boroughs like

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Mortgage possession: Lloyds and the arrears that weren’t

ACL Injury Ltd

From the High Court in Northern Ireland comes a significant joined case of a mortgage lender behaving badly. Bank of Scotland, and indeed possibly the whole Lloyds group seem to have acted in this way, for which they have received an extremely severe judicial take down. The principles in this case may well have application outside Northern Ireland, and the practices identified well worth looking out for.

Bank of Scotland plc v Rea, McGeady, Laverty [2014] NIMaster 11

The borrowers’ cases were brought by NI Housing Rights Service, here is their account of the matter. These were effectively test cases to address a widespread practice.

These … Read the full post

Eviction: “Sexual, athletic and squeaking noises”

In a case that recalls the ‘unnatural’ noises emanating from Concord, Tyne and Wear, a German Court was faced with a tricky decision in a claim for possession.

the swingThe ground given was that the tenant had installed a ‘very old’ sex swing in 2012. And, despite a clause in the tenancy agreement requiring him to be quiet between 10pm and 7am, the tenant had apparently been determined to make the most of his second-hand purchase. (Or maybe third hand. Yes, I know, it doesn’t bear thinking about.)

The landlord had received multiple complaints from neighbours of “sexual, athletic and squeaking noises” late into the night, and decided to evict.… Read the full post

Odds and Sods

A few bits and pieces, none of which are worth their own post, including a couple of updates on old ‘friends’.

First, as you have probably noticed, the blog has had a redesign (yes, another one). There are a couple of reasons for this: partly for a more contemporary, cleaner look, which should hopefully be more pleasant to read; and partly to make the site ‘responsive’, so that it deals with a wide variety of screen sizes. Rather than a separate version for mobiles, the same site is used, with a shortened menu bar. The sidebar and footer elements are below the main text on the mobile screen size.

Other … Read the full post

Bedroom tax and human rights FTT miscellany

No less than four FTT bedroom tax appeal decision have come my way lately. Three of them concern successful appeals on human rights Article 14 discrimination or Article 8 family life grounds. One is a clear room size decision with an interesting footnote on tenancy agreements.

I’ll start with the most comprehensive decision, which while semi-successful, raises some important issues in its failed grounds, and a question in its semi-successful ground. The decision, SC231/13/01993, from Bedlington, [Statement of Reasons here - a large and not very legible pdf file, I'm afraid], is by Judge A N Moss, who also allowed the appeal in the Sunderland Lift in the Read the full post

A short note on leasehold costs

The UT(LC) has published an addendum to Daejan Properties Ltd v Griffin [2014] UKUT 206 (LC) (our note here). The substantive case was about historic neglect. In outline, the leaseholders had won in the FTT and the UT overturned the decision, The UT invited written submissions on s.20C, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and, in doing so, clearly wanted to give a bit of practical guidance to the FTT/LVT.

You’ll remember that, if a lease lets a landlord recover his legal costs as a service charge, then s.20C, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 gives the court or Tribunal a discretionary power to disallow some or all of these costs … Read the full post

Costs and forfeiture

Barrett v Robinson [2014] UKUT 322 (LC) is very, very important decision on costs from the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). It came out a few weeks ago and I’ve been promising to do it since then. Sorry.

You’ll be aware that most, if not all leases, have a “forfeiture costs” clause in them – something along the lines of a covenant to pay costs incurred by the landlord in or in contemplation of forfeiture or preparation of a notice under s.146, Law of Property Act 1925, notwithstanding that forfeiture is avoided otherwise than by way of relief. For many years, this clause didn’t really trouble practitioners. Then along came Freeholders Read the full post

On the Naughty Step: Incredible Landlords and the buzzy DCLG

It is hard for a civil servant, with a predisposition to reticence, obfuscation and paper, to know what to do in an age where ‘amazeballs’ and ‘bedroom tax’ have entered the Oxford English Dictionary, and even the dictionary is only available online. How, the poor bewildered apparatchiks wonder, can we get a message across in a time of kitten pictures, selfies and LOLZ.

Alas, their befuzzled, fustian earnestness leaves them prey to every peak-bearded, artisanally trousered, new media guru able to crank open a MacBook Air and seduce them with talk of clickthroughs, heat maps and the ecstasies of virality. Things Buzz, things that they do not understand, … Read the full post