2011 08 Housing

Thursday 1 September 2011

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Barnsley MBC v Norton [2011] EWCA Civ 834, (Maurice Kay LJ, Carnwath LJ, Lloyd LJ): the Claimant sought an order for possession of a house rented to a school caretaker. There was no security of tenure. The caretaker’s 19-year old daughter, who lived with her parents in the property, had cerebral palsy. The property had been adapted for her needs. The local authority argued that the daughter’s needs would be satisfactorily dealt with under its homelessness duties at Part 7 Housing Act 1996. The Court of Appeal held that the local authority had a duty pursuant to s.49A(1)(d) Disability Discrimination Act (now s.149 Equality Act 2010) to have due regard to the need to take steps to take account of the daughter’s disability. To what conclusion that would lead the council was not for the court to say. The council had not addressed the duty before commencing the possession proceedings and was therefore in breach. The Court of Appeal declined to set aside the possession order. It was now open for the council to remedy its breach by giving proper consideration to the daughter’s needs for suitable alternative accommodation. Although the ground of appeal was made out, the appeal was dismissed. Click here for the transcript.

R (on the application of O) v London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham [2011] EWCA Civ 925 (Rix, Lloyd and Black LJJs): On the Court of Appeal dismissing the appeal the Defendant accepted that it had to accommodate a 13 year old disabled boy in accordance with its duties under section 20 of the Children Act 1989. His parents wished him to be accommodated at a residential school. The Defendant’s decided that he should be placed at a specialist children's home and attend a special school. His parents sought a judicial review of the decision with an injunction requiring the Defendant to provide a residential school placement. The Court of Appeal decided that the Defendant’s decision was not unlawful and refused an injunction. Also the court held that as the proceedings were judicial review proceedings, the welfare of the child was not the paramount consideration but was whether the decision was lawful. Click here for transcript.

X, Y & Z v United Kingdom [2011] ECHR 1199 (Garliki President): In settlement the UK Government has agreed to pay compensation of 25,000 euros each to X and Y and 7,000 euros to their carer, Z arising out of the facts relating to an attack on them in their home in the circumstances described y the Court of Appeal in X v London Borough of Hounslow [2009] EWCA Civ 286. It also agreed to pay 12,500 euro costs. Click here for transcript.

Tenants who lack mental capacity. The Court of Protection has published guidance on how and when to make applications to the Court of Protection in relation to signing or terminating tenancy agreements on behalf of adults who lack the mental capacity to understand or sign the agreement themselves. Click here for a copy of the guidance.

Housing benefit and supported housing. In July 2011 the Department of Work and Pensions announced proposed new arrangements for Housing Benefit in respect of accommodation with on-site support ( "exempt" accommodation). Click here for the consultation paper. Responses by 9 October 2011.

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