More on post possession order disrepair counterclaims

This is an issue we’ve looked at before, bringing a disrepair counterclaim after a possession order has been made. Now the Birmingham County Court has dealt with the issue on an appeal from the decision of a District Judge.

Midland Heart Ltd v Idawah [2014] EW Misc B48 (11 July 2014)

In this case, a possession order had been made in November 2002 (apparenly an SPO). There had subsequently been some seven stays of warrant on terms, in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2012. In February 2014, the Defendant made an application for a further stay of warrant and permission to bring a counterclaim for disrepair, supported by an expert’s … Read the full post

Condensation damp and saturated plaster

Just a quick note on a County Court disrepair trial with an interesting finding on damp plaster

DR v Southwark LBC, Lambeth County Court 11 June 2014

DR had brought a claim for disrepair including for damp, saturated plaster to the external wall in the bathroom. There was, it appeared from first inspection, a mix of damp penetration and condensation damp.

The expert inspection before trial included carbide testing to the core of the wall which showed that while both the external surface and the internal surface and plaster of the wall remained wet, the core of the wall was dry, showing no water penetration.

At trial, the Claimant … Read the full post

Disrepair: La luta continua!

2013 was a difficult year for claimant disrepair. Changes in legal aid funding have made it all but impossible to pursue a disrepair claim under legal aid alone, as funding is only available for an order to carry out repairs to where there is serious risk to health or well being of the tenant or other occupiers, and not for further repairs or the damages claim (although full funding remains for a counterclaim to a possession claim, which can be brought after the possession order).

For those carrying out disrepair claims under Conditional Fee Agreements, success fees ceased being recoverable from the Defendant, as did ATE premiums, but, despite … Read the full post

Disrepair: Damp and quantum

Following on from this post on disrepair counterclaims and as a precursor to a substantial post on disrepair quantum to follow very soon(ish), this is a County Court Judgment on an assessment of quantum hearing on 28 March 2014 (there was a default judgment in October 2013).

Clark v Affinity Sutton Homes Ltd. Barnet County Court 4 April 2014.

Mr C was the assured tenant of ASH since 2004. The property was a one bedroom flat with an initial weekly rent of some £66.

There were problems with damp at the property. The expert’s report of May 2013 found:

[a] Leaking within the vicinity of the bathroom

[b] Dampness internally

Read the full post

Disrepair – counterclaims after possession order.

Here is an interesting prospect* (and a big tug of forelock to Beatrice Prevatt at Garden Court for the initial suggestion).  Can a counterclaim for disrepair be brought after a possession order is made?

Conventionally, we’ve thought that a counterclaim would have to be raised before a possession order, or the complex and fraught option of applying to set aside the possession order would have to be followed, even assuming there was actually any basis for such an application. But there appears to be a solid argument based on Court of Appeal precedent to suggest otherwise.

Rahman v Sterling Credit Ltd [2001] 1 WLR 496 [Also on Bailii] … Read the full post

Incoming – bedroom tax and more.

Busy day for bits of news.

On the bedroom tax, Lord Freud announced in a House of Lords debate today that amending regulations to remove the 1996 claim exemption will be produced in March, though they haven’t got definite parliamentary time yet. (Not got a permanent Hansard link yet)

Lord Freud:

My Lords, I can tell the noble Lord that the numbers involved in this anomaly are small and the amounts are modest. We have put guidance out to local authorities and we intend to regularise the matter through regulations in March.

I have received another bedroom tax First Tier Tribunal appeal decision, from Liverpool. This is a successful appeal … Read the full post

Repair liability and implied lease clauses.

This one has been sitting in my draft collection for a while, but, as Christmas fades towards the new year, it finally got done. For the leaseholders in this particular appeal, it was, however, distinctly short of glad tidings.

Gavin & Anor v Community Housing Association Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 580

What kind of liability might there be where a leasehold property is damaged by defects in parts retained by the landlord, but where there is no express repairing covenant by the landlord? This case took a rather unusual route in exploring the issue.

The Claimant, Ms F was the leaseholder of two adjoining commercial premises, Community Housing Association being … Read the full post

A sign of things to come?

In the December edition of Legal Action, I noticed a decision from November 2012 (yes, 2012), called Miah v McGrogan [2012] EWCA Civ 1685 (Casetrack only).

Mr Miah seems to have been the landlord of a house which had been let to a number of students. They complained about the condition of the property and, although some remedial work was done, it was accepted that works remained outstanding (that might be too generous – Sullivan LJ notes that the Recorder “…conclude[d] not merely that the property was not in a properly habitable state at the start of the tenancy, but it also continued to be in a state that … Read the full post