Council major works charge cap?

Council leaseholders, those who exercised the right to buy or those who bought from them, have been facing very hefty major works charges, perhaps particularly in London. When repairs have been carried out alongside Decent Homes programmes, or as large scale works of roof and window replacement have gone ahead, major works charges per household of £20,000 or more have not been uncommon, with some reaching £40,000 or £50,000. While there have been successful challenges to these on occasion, those challenges are the exception.

The DCLG is now proposing to cap charges for repairs recoverable by Councils. The proposed cap is £10,000 (or £15,000 in London) over a 5 year … Read the full post

A Less Beneficial Interest

Thompson v Hurst [2012] EWCA Civ 1752

This is a rather fact specific case which shows application of the principles of Stack v Dowden and Kernott v Jones. Our report on Kernott which covers the whole debate is here.


H was the tenant of a local authority and had been since 1983. In 1985 T moved in with her. They did not marry but lived as a couple in the property. However, H remained the sole tenant of the property. In 2001 they bought the property under the right to buy scheme at a discount. The mortgage was in the name of H and she contributed the … Read the full post

You’re ‘avin’ a giraffe

Francis v LB Southwark [2011] EWCA Civ 1418

This was a brave attempt to try and get something out a local authority’s mistaken denial of a right to buy application, but it was not one which the Court of Appeal had any truck with.

Mr Francis was a tenant of the London Borough of Southwark. It seems that the course of his tenancy had not been a smooth one. Rent arrears would accrue, but eviction would be staved off. In March 2003 Mr F submitted a right to buy application in respect his flat on the Acorn Estate.

Southwark responded in September 2003, with a Housing Act 1985, s.124 notice … Read the full post

Outstanding and Relevant

Scinto v London Borough of Newham [2009] EWCA Civ 837 is an appeal from Bow County Court on whether the tenant was still entitled to exercise her right to buy on terms first set out in December 1999.

Miss Scinto initiated the right to buy process in September 1999.  In December 1999 Newham sent an offer notice addressed to both Miss Scinto and her son detailing the offer price and the statutory discount that had been applied.  The offer notice also identified some structural defects.

In September 2000 Miss Scinto’s solicitors sent a surveyor’s report, identifying some serious structural problems, to Newham.  They told Newham that without extensive repair works … Read the full post

Take it as is or not at all

Ryan v London Borough of Islington [2009] EWCA Civ 578 concerned Ms Ryan’s Right to Buy under Part V Housing Act 1985 and whether or not it had been deemed to be withdrawn.

Ms Ryan was the secure tenant of a an Islington property. In January 2003, she served notice of RTB and after two months Islington admitted the RTB, stating that valuation would be as of January 2003. In June 2003, Islington noted that specialist works were required – filling a crack in the rear wall, indicating subsidence. The valuer’s report of the same month noted sloping and springy floors, damp to a ceiling and walls, but did not … Read the full post

Right to buy and Housing Benefit rebates in the Lords

The House of Lords opinions in Hanoman (FC) (Respondent) v London Borough of Southwark (Appellants) [2009] UKHL 29 were handed down today. This was Southwark’s appeal of a Court of Appeal judgment we noted here.

Briefly, Mr Hanoman was a Southwark secure tenant. Southwark had failed to serve a counter notice to Mr Hanoman’s s.122 Notice of right to buy, served in 1999. In fact the counter notice wasn’t served until after a High Court hearing in 2004. S.153B Housing Act 1985 (as amended) kicks in where the tenant has served notice of delay, which Mr Hanoman had. The effect is that rent payable after the notice period in … Read the full post

Southwark and the Lords

Southwark LBC  are involved in two cases are being heard in the House of Lords next week. Hanoman v Southwark is a Right to Buy dispute and R (G) v Southwark is about whether there is a lawful distinction between a child who is “in need of accommodation”  or merely “in need of assistance with accommodation.”

The judgments will, of course, be noted here as soon as they come out.… Read the full post

Help with service charges

Leaseholders who purchased their properties from local housing authorities under the Right to Buy (and those persons who subsequently bought on from those original purchasers) are currently facing huge service charge bills (up to £40,000 in some London Boroughs) for their alleged share of the remedial works to their buildings which is being carried out as part of the Decent Homes Initiative.

Whilst the Government has resisted calls to cap those service charges, they have, from 6 April 2009, introduced two reforms which may be of some benefit to leaseholders in England.

The Housing (Service Charge Loans) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2009 SI 2009/602 amends the Housing (Service Charge Loans) Regulations Read the full post