2013 08 Housing

Sunday 1 September 2013

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Lee v Lasrado [2013] EWHC 2616 (QB) (Griffith Williams J): an appeal against an award of damages in an unlawful eviction case. The Respondent, Ms Lee was the tenant of Mr Lasrado. During her tenancy she suffered a number of incidents of harassment and in the summer of 2008 she returned to the property to find that the locks had been changed. She obtained an ex parte injunction against Mr Lasrado requiring her readmittance to the property. Mr Lasrado disregarded this order. An order was made in the same terms at a subsequent inter partes hearing. Again the order was disregarded. After a period of 84 days Ms Lee succeeded in finding alternative hostel accommodation. On 10 September 2010, HHJ Behar at the Wandsworth County Court awarded damages of £24,600 in respect of the unlawful eviction. The award consisted of general damages of £16,800 (calculated at a daily rate of £200 for the period between the Respondent’s eviction and her obtaining alternative hostel accommodation); the repayment of her deposit of £400; compensation of £1,200 for the failure to protect her deposit; general damages of £1,000 for the harassment of the Respondent during her tenancy; special damages of £2,200; aggravated damages of £1,500 and exemplary damages of £1,500. On appeal by Mr Lasrado, Griffith Williams J upheld the award stating that it within the appropriate ranges. Click here for the judgment.

Grimason v Cates [2013] EWHC 2304 (QB) (Griffith Williams J): whether a dispute over service of proceedings may be determined summarily. The Appellant obtained a long lease of a flat from the Respondent. Subsequently she failed to pay the ground rent and service charges and the Respondent issued forfeiture proceedings. The Appellant did not attend the hearing. The court made an order for forfeiture and the Respondent took possession of the flat. The Appellant subsequently sought to set aside the order and claim for wrongful forfeiture on the footing that she had not been served with proceedings at her usual or last known residence. At a summary hearing the application to set aside was dismissed and the claim for wrongful forfeiture was struck out. The Appellant appealed on the basis that the issue of service involved a dispute of fact and should have been determined at trial. Griffith Williams J dismissed her appeal. There was no authority for the proposition that the issue of service could not be determined by way of summary judgment. Click here for the judgment.

Secretary of State for Transport v Blake; Secretary of State for Defence v Nicholas [2013] (Unreported) 1 August 2013 (Burton J): an Art.8/Art.14 ECHR possession case. Ms Blake occupied a property provided by the Ministry of Transport under a common law tenancy. It had originally been acquired in relation to road-widening works but in the event was not needed. She had lived in the property for 11 years, had close ties to the area, and had two teenage children, one of whom had cerebral palsy and needed access to medical services in the area. Ms Nicholas occupied a property provided by the Ministry of Justice under a common law licence as a result of her status as the estranged wife of a member of the armed forces. She suffered from a depressive illness of which the MoD were aware, and had previously attempted to overdose. Burton J granted possession orders in respect of both properties. Possession was not disproportionate for purposes of Art.8, the personal circumstances of Ms Blake and Ms Nicholas had been taken into account as had the wider wider social issues, and the exclusion of Crown tenancies from statutory protection did not amount to unjustifiable discrimination for the purposes of Art.14 read in conjunction with Art.8. Ex tempore judgment not available online. Based on Lawtel summary.

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