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

Simply unacceptable

Most, if not all, of the London-based readers of this blog will have experience of the “unassigned list” at Central London County Court. In short, a number of cases (today, as I understand it, at least three s.204 apppeals and a sub-letting possession appeal, but on other days multi-day trials) are listed for hearing, but no judge is available. The hope is that one of the judges (who will themselves already have full lists) will, at some stage, become free and able to hear the unassigned cases. I would wager good money that more often than not (as today) none (or very few) of the unassigned cases actually get called … Read the full post

Anti-social behaviour – advance guidance

Given that most of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is not yet in force, including the provisions which empower the Secretary of State to issue statutory guidance, it seems slightly odd that statutory guidance which purports to have been issued under sections 19, 32, 41, 56, 73 and 91 of the Act (none of which have been commenced) was issued last month. It has the utilitarian title: Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers Statutory guidance for frontline professionals.

In many ways the document is unsurprising, setting out the various powers – community trigger, community remedy, civil injunction, criminal behaviour order, dispersal … Read the full post

Indecent homes and major works charges

The DCLG has released the “Social landlords reduction of service charges: mandatory and discretionary directions 2014“, in force as of today, 12 August 2014.

The upshot of the mandatory directions is that a social landlord which undertakes “repair, maintenance or improvement” wholly or partly funded by

(a) the Decent Homes Backlog Funding provided through the 2013 Spending Round; and
(b) any other assistance for the specific purpose of carrying out works of repair, maintenance or improvement provided by—
(i) any Secretary of State; or
(ii) the Homes and Communities Agency.

is limited in the amount of service charge or major works charge it can levy on its leaseholders … Read the full post

Reasons, reasons, reasons

ACL Injury Ltd

This slipped under my radar, but thanks to @RichGreenhill on twitter for pointing to Section 7 of The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, in force as of 6 August 2014.

Section 7 provides:

7. (1) The decision-making officer must produce a written record of any decision which falls within paragraph (2).

(2) A decision falls within this paragraph if it would otherwise have been taken by the relevant local government body, or a committee, sub-committee of that body or a joint committee in which that body participates, but it has been delegated to an officer of that body either—

(a) under a specific express

Read the full post

DHP not enough to remedy?

We’ve received an interesting First Tier Tribunal (so not binding) appeal decision from Wakefield, thanks to Kirklees Law Centre. A copy of the statement of reasons is here (not anonymised as the appellants consented to it being used largely unredacted).

Mr G was the tenant, occupying a two bedroom property with his wife, Mrs G. Mrs G has severe disabilities following a fracture to her back and the couple had been moved to the property, a bungalow, to which substantial adaptations had been carried out by the local authority landlord. Asa result of Mrs G’s disabilities, Mr G was not able to share the bedroom and there was no space … Read the full post

Help me make it through the night

We have the first (to the best of my knowledge) Upper Tribunal decision on a bedroom tax appeal, and therefore one binding on First Tier Tribunals. While it is not on one of the large scale issues, such as room size, it is nonetheless potentially important for a number of tenants and offers a view of the Upper Tribunal approach to the Regulations.

SD v Eastleigh Borough Council (HB) (Housing and council tax benefits : other) [2014] UKUT 325 (AAC)

The issue here was whether the appellant met the requirements for an additional bedroom for an overnight carer under Reg B13(6)(a).

The property is a three bed house. The appellant … Read the full post