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Social housing case law update: June 2013

Jasmin Ker v Optima Community Association [2013] EWCA Civ 579

A tenant who had entered into an option to purchase scheme, whereby a proportion of the rent paid would be applied towards the deposit payable should the tenant opt to purchase the property, failed to establish that she would be deprived of any proprietary right to the deposit monies under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 Protocol 1 art 1, such as to defend a claim for possession.

Jehan Mohammed v Islington LBC [2013] 21/05/2013

A local authority's reviewing officer, when considering whether a homeless woman had a priority need for accommodation under the Housing Act 1996 s189 because she suffered from frequent fainting, had failed to address the issues of whether her being homeless would affect the factors that mitigated the number or severity of her fainting attacks and the effect the attacks would have on her if she was homeless.

R (on the application of IA) v Westminster City Council [2013] EWHC 1273 (QB)

The court reviewed and restated the nature of the enquiries to be carried out by a local authority when assessing whether an applicant was vulnerable and in priority need of accommodation under the Housing Act 1996 s184, with particular focus on former asylum seekers who appeared to have mental health issues.

Birmingham City Council v (1) Gavin James (Defendant) (2) Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWCA Civ 552

There was no "closest fit" principle in deciding between the various pre-emptive orders available to control violence; provided the statutory conditions were met, it was at the judge's discretion (one of Mr James’ arguments was that and ASBO was available and less disadvantageous to him).

Sifatullah Hotak v Southwark LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 515

When assessing whether an applicant had a priority need for accommodation under the Housing Act 1996 s189(1)(c), the local authority was entitled to have regard to support which the applicant had been receiving from a family member with whom he was currently living and which he would continue to receive were he to become homeless.

Lambeth LBC v Harry Loveridge [2013] EWCA Civ 494

The court interpreted the Housing Act 1988 s28 and determined the correct computation of statutory damages payable to a secure tenant who had been unlawfully evicted by a local authority. The calculation of the difference between the value of the landlord's interest subject to the tenant's rights and the value of the landlord's interest free of those rights had to take account of the inherent vulnerability of a secure tenancy to becoming downgraded to an assured tenancy on a sale of a local authority landlord's interest to a private landlord purchaser.

Pauline Sterling v Cyron Housing Co-operative Ltd [2013] 10/05/2013

A decision to grant possession of premises to a housing co-operative was remitted to the county court as, in the light of the Supreme Court's decision in Mexfield Housing Co-operative Ltd v Berrisford [2011] UKSC 52, [2012] 1 A.C. 955 the tenancy could only be terminated in accordance with the tenancy agreement and further evidence was required on compliance with the co-operative's rules.

R (on the application of JL) v Secretary of State for Defence [2013] EWCA Civ 449

The defence of disproportionate interference in an occupier's right to respect for private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art 8 could be used, not only against a claim for possession, but also as a defence against enforcement of the order once obtained.

Chukwudumaebi Obiorah v Lewisham LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 325

Where the statutory allocation policy of a local housing authority in relation to unintentional homelessness stated under the heading "Offer Guarantees" that if an offer of accommodation was accepted as not meeting the applicant's accepted requirements, "the offer will be withdrawn and another one made when a suitable property becomes available", that did not guarantee, or create a legitimate expectation, that the second offer would also be an offer of permanent accommodation; there had been no unfairness in the local authority making an offer of temporary accommodation.