Don’t tell (and didn’t ask)

Introductory tenancies require a notice under s.128 Housing Act 1996 to be served before possession proceedings. That notice

shall inform the tenant of his right to request a review of the landlord’s decision to seek an order for possession and of the time within which such a request must be made. [s.128(6)]

But in what form should that information be given? Does that affect the validity of the s.128 notice?

Some, but tantalisingly not all, of the issues are considered in a High Court appeal in

Wolverhampton City Council v Helen Shuttleworth. High Court Birmingham District Registry 27 November 2012 [not reported elsewhere. We have a transcript of judgment]… Read the full post

‘Homeless Legislation – a thing of the past?’

[Update at the end of the post 15/11/2012]

Now that the Guardian has the story, I feel able to quote a briefing paper by Andy Gale of the DCLG that had found its way to me. This is the briefing that Andy Gale has been giving to Council officers (not councillors, as far as I know) on what he gives as the DCLG view of the post-Localism Act world, how Councils should implement it, and how officers should sell this to Councillors.

And it makes very interesting reading. Please note that there may be a more considered post on the issues and policy views to come on this blog … Read the full post

Introductory tenancies and s129 reviews – no conditions please

London Borough of Camden v Stafford [2012] EWCA Civ 839

This case revolves around the question of whether a review under s129 Housing Act 1996 does or doesn’t uphold the original decision to serve a notice. In particular, when the decision may state that the service of the notice is upheld but then sets out conditions as to the circumstances in which the LL (LA or PRP) will not issue the possession proceedings.  This seems to be a common occurrence. The trouble comes, as in this case, when the LL then decides that those conditions are not being or have not been met and issues the possession proceedings anyway. The … Read the full post

Proportionality, Section 21 and starter tenancies

Another RSL ‘starter tenancy’ and s.21 case, albeit one that marginally pre-dated West Kent HA v Haycraft, is The Riverside Group Limited – v – Sharon Thomas [2012] EWHC 169 (QB) 2 March 2012 (Manchester District Registry) [Not on Bailii. We've seen a transcript].

This will be a quick note, as the general principle has been established that proportionality defences are available for Housing Association ‘starter tenancies’, being assured shorthold tenancies, where possession is sought via section 21 notice. In addition, Ms Thomas was in person, and failed to appear, after her solicitors came off the record for lack of co-operation, so the extent of argument was limited.

Ms … Read the full post

Nothing ever really changes, does it?

Corby BC v Scott & West Kent Housing Association v Haycraft [2012] EWCA Civ 276  are the first cases that have required the Court of Appeal to consider and apply the guidance given in Powell v Hounslow LBC [2011] UKSC 8 & Pinnock v Manchester CC [2010] UKSC 45 (our notes here & here).

Facts – Scott

In December 2009, Ms Scott was granted an introductory tenancy by Corby. In May 2010 she began to accrue arrears of rent and by August 2010 she owed £285. Corby served a notice of possession proceedings, but shortly afterwards Ms Scott’s mother cleared the arrears. Rather than issuing a claim for possession … Read the full post

Single room rate and social housing

[Updated 15 March, see below]

Joe Halewood, who runs a fine blog on supported housing at SPeye, has unearthed a rather alarming statement from the DWP buried in the impact assessment on under occupation changes to HB for social housing from October 2011. The passage (at para 5) reads:

“From 1 April 2013 it is intended to introduce size criteria for new and existing working-age Housing Benefit claimants living in the social rented sector. The size criteria will replicate the size criteria that apply to Housing Benefit claimants in the private rented sector and whose claims are assessed using the local housing allowance rules”

 

The implication is that … Read the full post

Successful gateway (b) defence!

London Borough of Southwark v Hyacienth 22.12.2011 is that incredibly rare, beautiful thing: a successful gateway (b) defence to a mandatory possession claim in relation to an introductory tenancy.  At least, I think it is: unfortunately, it’s not clear whether it is a successful proportionality defence, and the circuit judge (who shall remain nameless as a result) also confuses gateway (a) and (b).  [The relationship between proportionality and gateway (b) seems to me to be an interesting question and one which I've had a bit of a battle with an anonymous academic reviewer about, but that's another story].  But, so what; and thanks to David Thomas, Ms Hyacienth’s solicitor, for … Read the full post

Proportionality. A precis on ‘summary’

Holmes v Westminster City Council [2011] EWHC 2857 (QB)

An interesting appeal from a summary possession order on the issue of consideration of proportionality. While the outcome is not, perhaps, a surprise, some of the arguments are. Plus this is an example of the High Court grappling with how the County Court should approach a summary possession claim, post Pinnock and Powell.

Mr H had a non-secure tenancy from Westminster as temporary accommodation following Westminster accepting a s.193 Housing Act 1996 duty in 2005. In 2009, Westminster told Mr H it had discharged duty following his failure to attend two appointments for inspection of his accommodation. Mr H requested … Read the full post