Housing Law Update 30 November 2021

Introduction

This is the second monthly update. The October update is here.

The areas I have been looking into are Law Reports, Webinars and new articles, web sites and blog posts. To find Law Reports I visit:-

If anyone else knows of any interesting information or sources of information which I have missed please let me know with a comment below

Webinars

I have not watched any new webinars this month.  I am hoping to watch the Garden Court Chambers Defences to S21 Possession Claims: Recent Developments. This took place on 25 November. I was not able to attend in real time am looking forward to watching the recording. The video should be available soon.

DG Legal's webinar on Domestic Abuse And The Interaction With Housing Law is coming up on 3 December

Two webinars non housing law webinars which I plan to watch are:-

1 Essex Court's Capacity and sex - the Supreme Court Decision in JB
and
1 Chancery Lane's Managing Capacity Issues in Personal Injury

They are not directly about housing law but I find that consideration of mental capacity areas is useful for considering its application to housing issues.

I still intend to watch 1 Chancery Lane's "How To Get The Most Out of" Series. These include:
How To Get the Most Out of Your Client
How To Get the Most Out of Your Barrister
How To Get the Most Out of Your Expert

Cases

R (Bereket) v Waltham Forest LBC QBD, 4 November 2021

In this case a homeless applicant received an offer of accommodation which she did not consider to be suitable. She sent an email message to the address given in the decision letter for requesting a review setting out her reasons for not wanting to accept the offer. Her message did not expressly state that she was requesting a review. Waltham Forest therefore refused to treat her as having requested a review within the statutory deadline. To the shock of most people who have commented on this, the High Court held that Waltham Forest were entitled to do so and dismissed the application for Judicial Review.

You can read more about this case via:

Hajjaj v City of Westminster (2021) EWCA Civ 1688

In this case it was held that when making offers of private sector accommodation to homeless persons local authorities do have to check that the property meets the requirements of Article 3 of The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 and cannot assume that it meets the requirements because the council considers the landlord to be reputable. On the other hand the council are entitled to rely on reports about the condition of the property from a landlord.

For more information see

SR v Lambeth London Borough Council Central London County Court 2021

This is an important decision in which Lambeth were found to have recited the law on vulnerability and the facts of the case but had failed to show how these had been used to reach a conclusion that the applicant was not vulnerable. The council was also criticised for failing to make inquiries and to preferring the advice of NowMedical who had not assessed or even met the applicant to the views of a consultant psychiatrist and social worker who had done. This was only a County Court judgment and a copy of the judgment does not appear to be available which is a great shame.

The case is covered in detail at  Nearly Legal

R (Ibrahim) v Westminster CC [2021] EWHC 2616 (Admin)

This case deals with the recurring question of when a council can reject a fresh a homelessness application by someone whose earlier application has been rejected. It is common for councils to reject such an application on the basis that the facts which it is based on are the same of the one which had been rejected. In this case the High Court held that it was enough for new material which had not been fully considered in the course of the last application to require the council to have to process a fresh application. For more information see:-

Gul v Bilal Stratford Hearing Centre, 18 October 2021

In this County Court case it was held that a deposit is not treated as having been returned where the landlord gives the tenant a cheque for the money but the tenant does not cash the cheque. This meant in this case that the Notice of Seeking Possession relied on by the landlord was invalid. For more information see Nearly Legal 

 BL, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Islington [2021] EWHC 3044 (Admin)

In this case the Administrative Court held that the Claimant had capacity to be a party proceedings despite medical evidence suggesting that she might not be able to do so. The Court took into account the level of support / assistance which the Claimant could expect to receive from the Court and the Defendant. This case is unusual in that it is rare for the person who is said to lack capacity to be arguing that they have capacity. In my experience it is also usually the case that persons with mental health problems do not receive assistance or support from the courts or the Claimants. For more information see the Capsticks website for a summary. The full judgment is here.

Other Useful Information

This video of Lord Kerr criticising the government's prejudiced and inhumane approach to asylum seekers is important viewing even if it is not strictly speaking about housing law.

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