Is a private registered provider of social housing amenable to judicial review?

Tuesday 24 May 2016

R (Macleod) v Governors of Peabody Trust [2016] EWHC 737 (Admin) (William Davis J)

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R (Macleod) v Governors of Peabody Trust [2016] EWHC 737 (Admin) (William Davis J)

Mr Macleod was the assured tenant of the Crown Estates Commissioners. He occupied a property in Bethnal Green, for which he paid an intermediary rent (i.e. below market rent but above social rent).

In 2011 the Commissioners transferred around 1,200 properties, including the property occupied by Mr Macleod, to Peabody for the purposes of letting to key-workers at sub-market rents. Mr Macleod made a request to exchange his tenancy with a tenant in Edinburgh. Peabody refused.

Mr Macleod sought judicial review, arguing that Peabody had failed to follow its own policy in relation to mutual exchange and had failed to take into account the public sector equality duty.

William Davis J dismissed the claim. Peabody, as a provider of social housing, was a hybrid authority i.e. some of its functions were private in nature whereas others were public.

In this particular case Peabody had purchased the properties from the Crown Estates Commissioners using funds raised on the open market, not via any public subsidy or grant; the properties were not pure social housing and rents for the properties were not subject to the same level of statutory regulation as social housing in general; and Peabody had no allocation relationship with any local authority.

As such, in refusing the mutual exchange Peabody were not exercising a public function and were not amenable to judicial review and, in any event, had not acted unlawfully.

Click here for the judgment.

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