Apparently Wandsworth are very very unhappy with the Court of Appeal judgment in Wandsworth v Randall on underoccupation possessions via ground 16 HA 1985. So unhappy that they are lobbying Caroline Flint to change the law via the Housing and Regeneration bill.
There are, of course, extremely good policy reasons for underoccupation possessions. Multiple bedroom council properties are in extremely short supply and demand is high.
Wandsworth, however, are putting more than a little spin on this. Martin Johnson, Cabinet member for housing said:
Our concern is the Court of Appeal judgement provides an incentive for underoccupying successor tenants to artificially increase their household as a way to defeat such a possession application.
The judgment expressly said that artificial inflation of numbers of people living in the property would be an issue for reasonableness at the hearing. It is fully open to the landlord to present evidence on the issue. So to say
the case left landlords with ‘very little power’ to pursue ground 16 repossessions.
But Mr Johnson is trumped by Brian Reilly, deputy director of housing, who fumes that this is
clearly a case where there has been an interpretation of the law that is simply wrong-headed.
Call me an old stick-in-the-mud, but that would be for the House of Lords rather the deputy director of housing of the frustrated claimant to decide.
I take it that this sound and fury means an application for permission to appeal to the Lords will not be forthcoming, but why ever not, Mr Reilly?