Bedroom tax and human rights: The UT has a go

I’ve got two Upper Tribunal decisions on bedroom tax appeals, both from Scotland. Both concern human rights related cases. One concerns what sounds like a fairly hopeless and sadly not well argued case based on disability. The other is considerably more significant and concerns article 8 and shared care of children.

CSH 374 2014 [decision can be downloaded here]
The appellant was subject to the 14% deduction on one bedroom. He was the sole tenant and occupant of a two bedroom property. He apparently is disabled. At the First Teir Tribunal, it was apparently argued by the tenant’s representative that:

The amended Housing Benefit Regulations are themselves discriminatory

Read the full post

You’ve got absoutely nothing out of this

For most parties that enter into litigation (save for those on CFAs and some who are legally aided) a win isn’t really a win unless the other side is also ordered to pay your costs. I say most, because certain litigants enter into litigation knowing that come what May their costs will be paid on the indemnity basis. They have the foresight (or more accurately the power) to draft contracts which provide that, in the event of litigation, the other side (often a borrower or a long leaseholder) will indemnify them for all their legal costs irrespective of whether they win or lose.

While the court retains jurisdiction to intervene, … Read the full post

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

Read the full post

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