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03/11/2009

These we have missed…

And thanks to the Garden Court bulletin for pointing them out. A couple of cases not yet available on Bailii.

R(Gardiner) v Haringey LBC [2009] EWHC 2699 (Admin), [2009] All ER (D) 301 (Oct).
Or ‘everything old is new again’

From the full judgment: Ms G. had applied as homeless to Haringey, who found she was not homeless as she had accommodation available to her in Columbia. Ms G requested a review on the basis that that accommodation was not suitable for her child, who had a preliminary diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder and severe and extensive care and support needs not available in Columbia. The review withdrew the decision. A further review upheld the decision, stating that Ms G’s decision to return to the UK, without definite accommodation, to seek care for her child was ‘reckless’. The different level of available care for the child was acknowledged but was not, in itself, sufficient reason to leave the Columbia house and come to the UK without definite accommodation.

A subsequent s.204 appeal upheld the decision. Ms G applied again 4 months later, supplying further information about her child’s situation and condition, including specialist evidence that the child would be very badly affected by instability and that she had improved considerably under current specialist care to the extent that she was now ‘thriving’ beyond expectation. The specialist’s letter stated that a return to Columbia would have a significant negative impact. Haringey refused the application on the basis that there were no new facts. They had already acknowledged that facilities were better than in Columbia. Ms G applied for Judicial review.

Held:
Following Maloba v Waltham Forest LBC [2008] All ER 701 (our post here), whether accommodation was suitable was no just a matter of its size and structural quality. The educational and medical needs of the child were material considerations. The Guidance, at para 6.27, states that a renewed application must be treated as a fresh application if there are substantive new facts. The significant issue was not now the difference in the level of available facilities, but the impact on the quality of life for the child. The Council had failed to look beyond the level of facilities available and consider the effect on quality of life. The reports submitted with the renewed application did amount to new facts, specifically on the severity of the likely degree of effect a return to Columbia would have on the child.

And then…

HSE v Helen Jayne Beckett Grimsby and Cleethorpes Magistrates Court

Various commentors on this post suggested that the HSE was less than enthusiastic about prosecuting private landlords over breaches of the gas safety check rules. So it is with pleasure that we can point to this prosecution (HSE press release)

Ms Beckett was a private landlord. Between 25 July 2007 and 5 January 2009 (about 18 months), Ms Beckett failed to ensure that a gas fire in the rented property she owned at Flat 1, 22 Sea View Street, Cleethorpes, had been checked for safety. Despite being served with an improvement notice by HSE in November 2008, she failed to get the necessary checks carried out by the required date.

She pleaded guilty at the Magistrates to breaching Regulation 36(3) of the Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998 – the 12 monthly check – and of contravening a previous improvement notice. She was fined £1,000 with £1,500 costs.

Now, let that not be a one off, pour encourager les autres, kind of prosecution and let others follow Yorks and Humberside’s lead.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

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