Archived Legal Articles from 2009

Housing & Regeneration


Fatal boiler explosion leads to housing society fine of £50,000


In December 2009, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a successful prosecution against Severn Vale Housing Society Limited and a plumber contracted by them to carry out work on a boiler in a tenanted property. An explosion then occurred and the tenant was tragically killed. Background The…

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Awareness Week puts Gas Safety in the Spotlight


From 16-20 November 2009, the Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week aims to raise the profile of gas safety in domestic properties and preventing the risks associated with exposure to carbon monoxide. The provisions of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 cannot be ignored by individuals or…

Prosecution of Gas Engineer highlights risks to tenants


In November 2009, during Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) released details of a successful prosecution which it brought against a gas engineer who was working illegally in Mansfield. The HSE and Nottinghamshire City Council Trading Standards ran a combined action…

Judicial Review on the Cards for RSLs as London & Quadrant appeal fails


The last act may have been played out in the case of London & Quadrant Housing Trust v R (on the application of Weaver) & Equality & Human Rights Commission [2009] EWCA Civ 587. The Supreme Court of England and Wales (formerly the judicial arm of the House of Lords) has refused L&Q's…

Anti Social Behaviour back in spotlight as Prime Minister voices views


During the Not In My Neighbourhood Week, running from 2-6 November 2009, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown has voiced his views on where there should be more focus in the battle to tackle anti social behaviour. He told an audience in Shoreditch that the three areas that needed to be taken on were reducing…

Landlord fined for failing to protect their tenant


In the latest of a series of prosecutions conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a landlord has been punished for breaching the laws concerning gas safety in domestic properties. Due to the fact that there have been gas safety cases in 2009 where custodial sentences have been handed down,…

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Failing to follow procedure can still mean valid tenancies says Court of Appeal


Whenever a new tenancy can be offered for a property, it is always important for local housing authorities and housing associations to be able to show that they have awarded the occupancy in a fair and transparent manner. One of the matters that could be particularly contentious is whether the provider…

Jail for landlord after breaking gas safety laws


A landlord from Cambridgeshire has recently been sent to prison for 16 months after breaching the laws relating to gas safety. It is the latest instance of housing providers being punished for failing to comply with their legal obligations. The verdict in this case should act as a warning to other…

Forbes housing client reaches Gas Safety Milestone with our help


Preston's biggest landlord, Community Gateway Association (CGA) in partnership with maintenance contractor Jackson Lloyd, reached the milestone of completing 100% of its gas safety inspections, 99% finished within the service year. This success rate has been made possible due to their innovative ways…

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Feeling the Heat - Fire Safety Notices continue to be served


The importance of fire safety in residential accommodation should never be underestimated and must be a high priority at all times. The recent tragic incident in Camberwell in London has shown the potential outcome of a fire spreading in a tower block. In order to prevent such disasters happening…

A past tenant's present behaviour can lead to an ASBI for the future


The anti social behaviour of social housing tenants and the ways in which landlords have sought to deal with it has often been the source of a considerable amount of legal action and debate. It is generally considered that a social landlord is permitted to take action if the tenant's conduct interferes…

Emergency evacuation of tower block raises fresh fears about safety


The safety of those residing in tower blocks is currently one of the most important issues affecting the social housing and rented accommodation sectors. Following on from the tragic incident in Camberwell, London in July 2009, the significance of ensuring that all blocks have satisfactory fire safety…

Prosecution Sparks Gas Safety into Spotlight


The dangers of having gas work undertaken by illegal gas workers have again been highlighted by a successful joint prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive and Hull Trading Standards. The case comes just weeks after an unaccredited gas engineer was jailed for manslaughter in Brecon. Instances…

Manage Asbestos & Manage the Risk


It is difficult to emphasise the dangers caused by asbestos in properties. Each year 1000 people die from past exposure to asbestos and the risk still remains with around half a million buildings still containing asbestos. Those who are responsible for managing the maintenance and repair of buildings…

Reduction in Housing Benefit ruled fair by court


The support provided to individuals in the greatest need through the granting of housing benefit is an area of law which is often the subject of legal action, particularly when attempts are made to reduce the amount in question. Due to the nature of such proceedings (and the possible effect they can…

Last Orders for drink-related Anti Social Behaviour?


It is often the case that the cause of anti social behaviour is the perpetrator drinking large amounts of alcohol. Attempting to deal with this kind of conduct can be especially difficult given that there may be an element of dependency upon the alcohol by the individual. In order to try to deal with…

Avoid Getting into Hot Water by checking for Legionella


The dangers posed by the Legionella bacteria are well known in large water systems such as in hotels, hospitals and factories but it is also possible for them to live in smaller spaces used in residential accommodation (e.g. baths and taps). This threat raises the importance for landlords undertaking…

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Contracting Out Reviews is Valid for Homelessness Applications


The Court of Appeal has recently provided a decision on the validity of handing the review process of homelessness applications to independent third parties. A number of appeals were combined in the case of Michaela De-Winter Heald and Others v Brent London District Council [2009] EWCA Civ 930 on this…

Tuition Fees + Study = Graduation - But not if you haven't paid your rent!


Graduating from university is traditionally a time for celebrations and beginning a new career after many years of hard work. For one student however, the summer of 2009 has been more concerned with taking legal action against her university for withholding her degree because of alleged rent arrears.…

Gas Engineer Jailed for Carbon Monoxide Deaths


The importance of having work carried out on gas appliances in residential properties by accredited engineers was highlighted by the recent prosecution and jailing of a gas fitter in Wales after the tragic death of two people. Two individuals died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a warm air central…

What can VOOs do for you?


It is often the case that the most violent offenders will continue to pose a risk of serious harm to the general public, even when they are no longer subject to any restrictions such as imprisonment. In August 2009, a new tool became available for the Police to use which may become an integral part of…

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Three Strikes and They're All Out: Unregistered Gas Engineers face Penalties


The issue of regulating the safety of domestic gas appliances is one of the key areas which fall under the remit of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Work that is carried out by a person who is unregistered can lead to disastrous consequences, as seen in one case that was heard in Cardiff in July…

Wanted Opinions on Directions to Tenant Services Authority


The Department for Communities and Local Government has recently commenced a consultation seeking views on the draft directions to be given by the Secretary of State to the Tenant Services Authority (TSA), the social housing regulator, under the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. This consultation,…

Chance to Appeal a Premises Closure Order is Open for 21 days only


An appeal has recently been heard in the High Court concerning individuals seeking a review into the making of a premises closure order (PCO). In Hampshire Police Authority v Gail Smith [2009] EWHC 174, it was held that an appeal must be issued within 21 days in order for it to be deemed as valid.…

Buy-to-let Landlords in line for rebate from Letting Agents


Thousands of the 1.15 million buy-to-let landlords in Britain are potentially in line to reclaim considerable amounts of money from letting agents after a landmark ruling from the High Court on 10 July 2009. It was held by Mr Justice Mann, who found in favour of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that…

Querying an Injunction needs more than a Reference to ECHR Article 8


Issues relating to the removal of gypsies from land are arguably some of the most problematic areas of housing law that a landlord or local authority may have to deal with. One of the main points of contention may be that by removing the gypsies from the land in question, their right to a private and…

Possession Orders supersede right to family life of Trespassers


In the latest of a series of cases where the English and European courts have argued over the role and influence of human rights legislation in landlord and tenant matters, the Court of Appeal was asked to address the issue of whether a Council's decision to take action against trespassers for…

Ordering an ASBO must be "Necessary and Proportionate" rules High Court


The use of Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) has steadily increased since their introduction ten years ago. ASBOs have now been used in a wide range of situations and for a variety of nuisance and criminal behaviour. The number of times an incident of nuisance or criminal behaviour takes place will…

Gas Safety Certificates must be supplied for all Rented Properties


One of the main duties of a landlord is to carry out an annual safety check and service of any relevant gas appliances in a rented property. This is to ensure that any deficiencies are identified and dealt with relatively swiftly. Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Under the Management of…

Variation of Tenancy Termination Date requires more than Alternative Dates


A Notice to Quit is one of the most commonly used documents in landlord and tenant matters. Its purpose is to make one party to the agreement (either the landlord or the tenant) aware of the other side's intention to end the contractual arrangement and for the tenant to leave the property, whether…

Banking a Deposit can prove Good Value for Landlords


The recent introduction of tenancy deposit schemes into the law governing landlord and tenant law may prove to be a new source of litigation in the future. Under the Housing Act 2004, a landlord is required to place a tenant's deposit into a scheme created specifically for this purpose and additionally…

Ignorance May Not Be Bliss As Court Of Appeal Overturns Possession Claim


The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Knowsley Housing Trust v Paul Prescott & Linda Prescott [2009] EWHC 924 has shown how the Courts will view and interpret the convictions of one member of a household and their impact upon the other members and their tenancy. The strict approach taken…

Every Action has a Reaction: The Reasonableness of Possession Orders


The recent case of Patricia Whitehouse v A H Loi Lee [2009] EWCA Civ 375 has provided practitioners, landlords and tenants alike with a clearer understanding of what must be taken into consideration by a landlord when a claim for possession of a property is brought by a landlord. Given that such a…

Suspension deemed Unreasonable where there is Real Risk of Further Damage


The case of CDS Housing v Bellis [2008] EWCA Civ 1315 has shown the potential outcome in situations where there is a real risk of a tenant inflicting further damage upon the property itself and possibly to neighbours. In this case, the court was required to determine between the wishes of a tenant to…

New Evidence may not bring a New Decision in seeking New Accommodation


The recent case of R (on the application of Hassan) v Croydon London Borough Council has provided guidance on the potentially difficult issue of whether an applicant for accommodation is intentionally homeless and is therefore not owed any duty to house by a housing provider. Such situations can…

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Judicial Review may be used as London & Quadrant Appeal Dismissed


The eagerly awaited judgment in the case of London & Quadrant Housing Trust v R (on the application of Weaver) & Equality & Human Rights Commission {2009} EWCA Civ 587 was provided on 18 June 2009. The case has previously been the source of considerable discussion by landlords and housing…

Deduct During Delays says House of Lords in Right to Buy Claim


Right to buy claims may be dealt with on a regular basis by large landlords and by practitioners but they are potentially fraught with problems. One such issue is reaching agreement over the purchase price of the property. The case of Hanoman v Southwark London Borough Council (No.2) [2009] UKHL 29…

When is a Home Not a Home? The Court of Appeal assesses Tenancy Succession


The decision reached in Freeman v Islington London Borough Council [2009] EWCA Civ 536 has cast light on highly emotive and potentially difficult situations for landlords where a family member has moved in with the tenant to care for them. Upon the death of the tenant, there may be uncertainty as to…

Forbes to Exhibit at CIH Conference


Forbes Housing team will be exhibiting at this years Chartered Institute of Housing Exhibition. The three day conference takes place on the 16 - 18 June and is devoted to housing, it covers strategic issues and provides a focus for networking and sharing best practice. You will find us on Stand…

Points won't make Prizes in Government Plan for Landlord Register


Unlike celebrity game shows, accruing points on the proposed national register of landlords would not be beneficial to the participating landlords. The plan, which is presently at the consultation stage, is designed to promote greater transparency and accountability in the private rented sector and…

Temporary Housing does not bring Homelessness to an end


The Housing Act 1996 requires local housing authorities to have schemes in place for determining levels of priority in the process of allocating properties. Those who are considered to be homeless are provided with a greater level of preference than those who are not. With housing stock in short supply…

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Forbes Solicitors continue to promote


Lancashire Law firm Forbes Solicitors is delighted to announce that four of its solicitors have been promoted as part of its ongoing development. Stuart Penswick, Elizabeth Bower and David Pickford have all been promoted to Partner and Clare Knight has been made an Associate of the firm. Stuart…

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Local Housing Authority owed no Duty of Care to Tenants in X & Y


The Court of Appeal's decision in the case of X & Y (Protected Parties Represented by their Litigation Friend The Official Solicitor) v Hounslow London Borough Council (2009) EWCA Civ 286 reversed the previous decision which had originally substantially altered the liabilities of housing…

Amending the CPR: What the Changes mean for Housing Law


The 49th update to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) governing civil cases in England and Wales has seen a number of changes made to the way proceedings are conducted. Whilst the adjustments (which came into effect on 6 April 2009) are worthy of note for all civil practitioners and users of the civil…

A Promise is a Promise, even when attempting to Evict


The case of Tommy McGlynn v Welwyn Hatfield District Council (2009) EWCA Civ 285 has highlighted the importance of landlords, both from the private and public sector, ensuring that they are fully aware of the implications their correspondence with tenants may have. If particular phrases or sentences…

Does higher Rent mean higher Security? Not necessarily says the High Court


When the rent paid for a property is several hundred pounds per month, it may be presumed that because of the amounts involved, greater protection would be provided to the tenant. However, the recent decision in Cherry Sheila Hughes v Borodex Limited [2009] EWHC 565 has shown that this is not…

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Getting on top of Rent Arrears


In recessionary times everyone finds that their money may not stretch as far as it previously did and tenants are no exception. Some may find it difficult to pay due to no fault of their own (e.g. redundancy or illness) and judges have been correct to look sympathetically towards their cases, but a…

Put your foot on the gas and sign up to the new Gas Safe Register


A recent survey carried out by Northern Gas Heating has shown a vast majority of people in the United Kingdom are not aware of the new Gas Safe Register and that the changeover from CORGI is due to take place on April 1 2009. 92 per cent of those questioned in the survey had not heard of the new scheme…

Judicial Review due for Housing Association decision to remove Wardens


The High Court is due shortly to consider whether a housing association (Circle 33 Housing Trust) was justified in ending a residential warden service, because it could be viewed as a public body performing a public function. The hearing is due to take place in early April 2009 and the decision reached…

High Court go 'Back to the Future' in admitting evidence of ASB


The High Court ruling in the case of Birmingham City Council v Dixon on 18 March 2009 has, for the present time, paved the way for courts to take into account the behaviour of a person subject to an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) after any such application has been made. The Council had appealed,…

Ranking is Unnecessary as House of Lords rules on deciding between Applicants


The allocation of social housing in the United Kingdom remains a controversial and sensitive topic, with the number of applicants far outweighing the properties available to meet this ever growing need. While housing authorities have been granted reasonable levels of discretion in determining who to…

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Secure Tenancies cannot be revived upon Death of Tolerated Trespasser


The recent Court of Appeal decision in Austin v Mayor & Burgess of Southwark London Borough Council [2009] EWCA Civ 66, has held that the right to apply to revive a secure tenancy under the Housing Act 1985 was not available on the death of the former secure tenant. This finding may inevitably be…

Make Room to prevent Overcrowding in Properties


Figures from the preliminary findings from the Survey of English Housing 2007/08, combined with housing data from the 2008 Labour Force Survey states that almost 565,000 households in England are living in overcrowded homes, with just less than three per cent of households in cramped conditions. In…

Homelessness not a Deliberate Act if done in Good Faith


Ordinarily if a tenant elects to leave a property, they would be considered as being intentionally homeless for the purposes of the Housing Act 1996. However, the recent decision in Iyekekpolor Ugiagbe v Southwark LBC [2009] EWCA Civ 31 has held that vacating a property could not be considered as a…

Premises Closure Orders open up new ways to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour


As of 1 December 2008, the police and local authorities can apply for premises closure orders (PCO) through the magistrates' courts, as introduced by section 118 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. This provision permits the court to temporarily close premises which are associated with…

CORGI Loses its Bite as Gas Installer Scheme moves to Capita


On 8 September 2008, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) awarded a new 10 year contract to Capita Group plc to provide a new registration scheme for gas installers. This will begin on 1 April 2009 and will, with immediate effect, replace the current CORGI system that is currently in place. These…

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Changes In Circumstances Can Make Decisions On Priority Needs Deficient


The case of Geoffrey Banks v Kingston-Upon-Thames RBC [2008] EWCA Civ 1443 has ruled that the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Review Procedures) Regulations 1999 can be used in situations where, although the local authority's original decision had been fair and reasonable, a change in the facts…

Duty to House is Extinguished when Alternative is Declined


The duty of a Housing Authority (HA) to provide accommodation under the Housing Act 1996 is discharged when its offer of alternative property to a family, whom had outgrown their current house, was declined as held in the recent case of Muhubo Mohammed Muse v Brent London Borough Council [2008] EWCA Civ…

House of Lords to make Judgment on Status of Refuges


A woman who was evicted from a Manchester refuge and subsequently refused council housing has been given leave to appeal to the House of Lords on the decision reached by the Court of Appeal in Moran v Manchester City Council and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2008] H.L.R. 39.…

Sparks May Fly As Power Is Increased at Tenant Services Authority


The start of the New Year will also see the beginning of a new system of regulation being created for social tenancies. Introduced on December 1 2008, the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) replaced the Housing Corporation in overseeing the governance of the provision of social housing in the UK. With the…

Rehabilitating Anti-Social Behaviour, One Family At a Time


At a time when focus remains upon prevention and early intervention, the Government's Respect agenda has been encouraging Local Housing Authorities (LHA) to consider creating individual Family Intervention Projects (FIP). Their purpose is to offer extensive support to facilitate the rehabilitation…

Updates in Possession Proceedings


In issues relating to anti-social behaviour, there are a number of options that can be pursued by parties. However, these procedures are evolving and changing in line with case law. It remains, as ever, important to be aware of their implications Lambeth LBC v Debrah (2007) EWCA Civ 1503 Possession…

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05 Dec 2018

Housing & Regeneration


Assessing proportionality: Tenancy enforcement action and the Equality Act 2010

We frequently receive cases where disabled tenants/occupiers are causing anti-social behaviour and the…

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