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Social Housing case law updates: April 2013

Chishimba v Kensington & Chelsea Royal London Borough Council (2013) Court of Appeal 25/3/13

A local authority assessing an application for housing assistance had erred in finding that an applicant who had previously had her tenancy terminated when it emerged that she had used a counterfeit passport had become intentionally homeless within the meaning of the Housing Act 1996 s191. Her immigration status had meant that she had never been entitled to such assistance, and it would not have been reasonable for her to have continued occupancy.

Islington London Borough Council v Unite Group Plc [2013] EWHC 508 (Admin)

For the purpose of deciding whether a house in multiple occupation (HMO) required a licence from the local authority under the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions) (England) Order 2006 art 3, it was the HMO that had to comprise three storeys and not the building in which the HMO happened to be found. The Order was not intended to apply to purpose-built flats in tower blocks.

Fadi El-Dannaoui v Westminster City Council [2013] EWCA Civ 231

A review decision of a local housing authority that a person had a general dislike, rather than an irrational fear, of heights and that an offer of accommodation in a sixteenth-floor flat had been suitable had, on the medical evidence, been perverse.

Fareham Borough Council v Terry Miller [2013] EWCA Civ 159

Where a local authority had served notice to quit on the tenant of a non-secure tenancy because of the anti-social behaviour of others occupying the property during the tenant's frequent custodial sentences, it had been entitled to pursue possession proceedings. Its decision, after serving the notice, to give the tenant another chance conditional upon him not being recalled to prison, had not revoked the notice to quit, nor had acceptance of rent after service of the notice evinced an intention to create a new tenancy.

London Borough of Brent v Cheryl Tudor [2013] EWCA Civ 157

When refusing a local authority's application for possession of a six-bedroom property under the Housing Act 1985 Sch 2 ground 16, a judge had been entitled to find that the property was reasonably required to accommodate the successor secure tenant and her family.

Aliya Sharif v Camden London Borough Council [2013] UKSC 10; [2013] HLR 16
A family could be accommodated within the meaning of the Housing Act 1996 s176 in two adjoining flats. The test of whether a person could live "together with" family members in such accommodation could be satisfied by two units of accommodation if they were so located that they enabled the family to live "together" in practical terms.

Birmingham City Council v Beech [2013] EWHC 518 (QB)

This was a second succession case though started out with the tenant moving into a care home and signing a notice to quit with regard to her tenancy. She passed away a few months later and the authority refused the daughter’s request for her and her husband to be allowed to remain at the property, largely because it would have been under-occupied. The possession claim was heard in the High Court and Keith J made an order for possession. Arguments as to the notice to quit (undue influence), public law submissions and articles 8 and 14 representations were rejected, the case not being seriously arguable. The daughter in fact had not been residing with her mother for the 12 months prior to the latter’s death anyway and so the question as to the compatibility of the second succession rule with those articles was not considered.

Nigel Moore v British Waterways Board [2013] EWCA Civ 73

The British Waterways Board had had no power to issue notices under the British Waterways Act 1983 s8 against a boat-owner who had moored boats alongside his riparian land on a tidal stretch of a canal. Although he had no riparian right to permanently moor the boats, he had committed no actionable wrong in doing so, and they were therefore not moored "without lawful authority" within the meaning of s8.

Chukwudumaebi Obiorah v Lewisham London Borough Council [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.