How much is a secure tenancy worth?

London Borough of Lambeth v Loveridge [2013] EWCA Civ 494

We are appallingly late with this one, and have no excuse. But this case has just been given permission by the Supreme Court, so this is a good moment to make amends.

Mr L was the secure tenant of Lambeth. Lambeth unlawfully evicted him.  Mr L was on an extended visit abroad, Lambeth apparently didn’t know about it. The rent was paid but Lambeth decided Mr L might have died in the property and forced entry. Despite the total absence of a deceased Mr L, Lambeth cleared his belongings out of the flat and re-let it.  Mr L claimed for … Read the full post

Tweets from rented rooms

A series of tweets gathered under the hashtag #LDNlandlord today (Thursday 15 May) offered an insight (if one were needed) into the state of the London private rental market. For the housing lawyer, it was also a opportunity to play claim/offence bingo.

So, under disrepair…

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Don’t ignore the Court of Appeal

Or, ‘It wasn’t me, it was the bailiff’.

Choudhury v Garcia [2013] EWHC 3283 (QB) (June 2013) [Not on Bailii. We have transcript]

A rather unusual unlawful eviction case, this, involving as it does breaches  of Court of Appeal stays of warrant, and High Court appeals of judgment and damages where both parties were in person.

Mr G was the tenant of Mr C, since 2007, or 2008 in a ground floor room. In late 2009, Mr C apparently decided he wanted the room back. At this point, trouble began in the back garden. As the first instance judge found:

“Panels of the fence were removed. The neighbours started to

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It wasn’t me.

Lee v Lasrado [2013] EWHC 2302 (QB)

On the whole, trying to appeal an unlawful eviction judgment and quantum decision against you on the basis that you are not actually the landlord is not an approach to be recommended. This appeal decision in the High Court can be taken as a reminder why this is so. There is also a reminder of the limits of Housing Act 1988 section 27(7)(a) mitigation by conduct of the tenant and of a section 27(8)(a) defence.

Ms Lee was the tenant of a bedsit in an HMO, with a tenancy beginning in Summer 2008.She alleged various acts of harassment, culminating on 20 June 2009 … Read the full post

Of statutory defences and bottles of urine

An appeal against conviction on an illegal eviction case. We didn’t report it at the time, but in R v Jay Allen & Razwan Mohammed, in Sheffield County Court, September 2012, Jay Allen was convicted of illegal eviction under section 1(3A) Protection from Eviction Act 1977. A newspaper report is here.

In short, the tenant, who was in rent arrears, was threatened. The altercation was partly recorded by the tenant. An extract runs:

JA – “Right, get your stuff.  I want you to leave, go.”

T – “You can’t just kick me out on the street.”

JA – “I am. I am doing.”

T – “It’s against the

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Property Guardians seem to be a growth industry. If you haven’t come across these yet, you probably will at some point. The Guardian agency puts people into a vacant commercial or residential building to live as occupiers, effectively providing security to the owner of the building against burglary, squatting etc.. The schemes have largely received a fairly uncritical press, being held up as providing cheap accommodation for occupiers prepared to accept flexibility. I have no doubt that much of the time, that is indeed how it works.

The way in which many of these schemes seem to operate is that the agency takes a licence from the property owner, … Read the full post

More on more on damages

Or Simmons v Castle round two

Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA Civ 1288

As you may know, the original Court of Appeal decision in Simmons v Castle on the 10% uplift in general damages (our report here) was revisited after representations by the ABI and APIL.

I’m not sure that the revised judgment has made things any more workable, but it has clarified some issues relevant to housing.

First, general damages for “four types of damage in relation to both tort and contract cases, namely “pain and suffering and loss of amenity”., “physical inconvenience and discomfort”, “social discredit”, and “mental distress”” are are to be given the 10% uplift. … Read the full post

The JP, the BBC trainee and the Unlawful Eviction

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An unlawful eviction case with some unusual dramatis personae.

Rebecca Claire Webb v Samina Amreen Birmingham County Court 31 August 2012 [Unreported elsewhere]

Ms Webb was the assured shorthold tenant of Ms Amreen, for a 6 month term from September 2007 then a statutory periodic. A deposit of £540 had been paid, but was not protected. Ms Webb lived at the property with two children.

Over a period leading up to 23 June 2008, Ms Amreen conducted a campaign of harassment intended to drive Ms Webb from the property. This followed a gap of a month in housing benefit payments. There were texts threatening to ‘turn up with the … Read the full post