The Government launches its consultation on social housing reforms in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy

Following on from the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, the Government has set out its proposals for a reform of social housing. These are contained in its Green Paper entitled, ‘A New Deal for Social Housing.’

The reforms are underpinned by 5 main principles:

1) The idea that a safe and decent home is fundamental to a sense of security and the ability to get on in life;
2) The importance of speeding up how complaints are dealt with;
3) The need to empower residents and hold landlords to account;
4) The need to challenge stereotyping in relation to social housing tenants and their communities; and
5) The need to build adequate and sufficient social housing which can act as a springboard to home ownership.

The Green Paper can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/social-housing-green-paper-a-new-deal-for-social-housing

The Consultation will run from 14 August 2018 until 6 November 2018.

Residents, landlords, tenant engagement organisations and housing charities can take part by submitting their responses to: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/A_new_deal_for_social_housing

21 May 2018 – Phase One of The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Begins

What is a public inquiry?

Public Inquiries are governed by the Inquiries Act 2005 and the Inquiries Rules 2006. Their purpose is to investigate and report on a matter of public concern.

A statutory inquiry, such as the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, can only be established by a government Minister. The Minister sets out the terms of reference, defining the inquiry’s scope and the matters to which it relates. The Minister then appoints a Chair, usually a judge, who presides over proceedings.

The Chair is guided by the Inquiry Rules 2006, and has the power to do the following:

* Designate core participants to the inquiry

* Appoint legal representatives

* Request a written statement from any person from whom the inquiry proposes to take evidence

* Restrict access to certain disclosure documents

* Make arrangements for the publishing of reports and records management

* Make decisions about the payment of fees to legal representatives

Grenfell Tower Inquiry

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry will look specifically at the following areas or terms of reference and then report to the Prime Minister about its findings:

(a) the immediate cause or causes of the fire and the means by which it spread to the whole of the building;

(b) the design and construction of the building and the decisions relating to its modification, refurbishment and management;

(c) the scope and adequacy of building regulations, fire regulations and other legislation, guidance and industry practice relating to the design, construction, equipping and management of high-rise residential buildings;

(d) whether such regulations, legislation, guidance and industry practice were complied with in the case of Grenfell Tower and the fire safety measures adopted in relation to it;

(e) the arrangements made by the local authority or other responsible bodies for receiving and acting upon information either obtained from local residents or available from other sources (including information derived from fires in other buildings) relating to the risk of fire at Grenfell Tower, and the action taken in response to such information;

(f) the fire prevention and fire safety measures in place at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017;

(g) the response of the London Fire Brigade to the fire; and

(h) the response of central and local government in the days immediately following the fire.

Inquiry Process

The Inquiry is going to be dealt with in two phases. Phase 1 will begin on 21 May 2018 and will focus on the factual events of the night of 14 June 2017. It will consider the fire safety and prevention procedures in place at Grenfell Tower, where and how the fire started, the manner in which the fire spread, the evacuation of residents and the response of the emergency services. The Judge, Sir Moore-Bick, will make recommendations setting out his conclusions about how to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again in a high-rise residential building.

Phase 2 of the Inquiry will focus on the adequacy of the response by the emergency services, the appropriateness of the ‘stay put’ policy and the lessons that should be learned from the fire at Grenfell Tower. Sir Moore-Bick will again make recommendations about the emergency services should respond to fires in high-rise residential buildings in the future.

Potential Outcomes

An inquiry panel does not have the power to make any rulings about a person’s civil or criminal liability. It can, however, making findings of fact and set out who is considers is likely to be liable on the basis of the facts.

As the purpose of public inquiries is to restore public confidence, it is important that the inquiry panel are able to fully investigate the facts before making recommendations. As such, it is crucial that the outcome of the inquiry is not to punish anyone or to establish liability.

May 2018 Housing Disrepair News Update

S v N Homes Ltd – Bishop Lloyd & Jackson issued a private prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court in January 2018 in order to compel our client’s landlord into abating the statutory nuisance in her property. At the preliminary hearing in March, the landlord requested an adjournment on the basis that it recognised that the property was suffering from a statutory nuisance. The landlord sought an adjournment of 8 weeks to complete works to overhaul the ventilation unit to address the issues of condensation, damp and mould which were causing health problems for our client and her family.
 
Given the extent of the statutory nuisance  in our client’s property, she and her family had to decant and there were real difficulties in finding suitable alternative accommodation for them whilst works were being done. Our client’s adult son is disabled and has severe and complex needs which meant that the family needed to be rehoused in a ground floor property, suitable for their needs. Once the issues of rehousing had been resolved, the landlord was able to complete remedial works to the property. Our client has confirmed that after several years of living in appalling conditions, the works have been completed and she no longer considers the property to be prejudicial to her and her family’s health.
 
Our client continues to have a section 11 LTA 1985 claim in the county court for structural disrepair. Our aim in these proceedings is to ensure that the family are fully compensated for the distress, inconvenience and loss of amenity that they have suffered as a result of the landlord’s failure to uphold its repairing obligations.
 
E v B Council – This was a breach of tenancy claim under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972. The basis of the claim was that the Council had failed to remedy damp and mould in our 76 year old client’s property following a burst water pipe. As a result of our work, the landlord undertook works to remedy the disrepairAlthough a lack of fire doors does not constitute disrepair and internal doors are not part of the structure of the property (and hence not within the landlord’s repairing obligation), the Council provided our client with fire safety doors at our request. An excellent report by our surveyor highlighted the fire risk to our client and was extremely useful in ensuring that the Council acted to minimise this risk. 
 
The Council agreed to pay our client compensation of £5,500 for her loss of enjoyment of the property, loss of amenity, distress and inconvenience plus  her legal costs of £6,000. By consent, we have agreed to stay proceedings on terms and the trial will not now go ahead.
 
P v G Housing Association – possession proceedings were brought against our on the basis of rent arrears. Our client was able to counterclaim for disrepair. As a result of Bishop Lloyd & Jackson’s work, the landlord completed remedial works to the property and awarded damages to our client plus her legal costs. Our client was able to use some of her compensation to clear her rent arrears, therefore putting an end to the possession proceedings which threatened her tenancy.

Dor v Woodhouse (Magistrates’ Court, Highbury Corner) Legal Action Group Magazine, March 2018

 

In the Magistrates’ Court at Highbury Corner, Preliminary Ruling, 6 November 2017.

Our client (the Prosecutrix) brought a private prosecution against the managing agents of the property that she resided in since the freehold owner was out of jurisdiction in Cyprus. The Prosecutrix had been housed by the Council in discharge of its housing duty under section 193 of the Housing Act 1996 and complained that a statutory nuisance had existed since 2011. She sought an order under section 82 (2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to abate the nuisance complained of. She claimed that the managing agent was the ‘person responsible’ for the nuisance under section 82 (4) of the Act on the basis that it had entered into an agreement with the Prosecutrix and the Council to delivery property management and maintenance services. Further, the Prosecutrix relied upon the meaning of owner established in the case of the London Borough of Camden v Gunby [1999] 4 All ER 602. Gunby determined that on the true construction of section 80 (2) (b) of the Act, (which dealt with the ability of Local Authorities to serve abatement notices on owners of properties in which a statutory nuisance exists) the word ‘owner’ included a managing agent who received a rack rent for the premises.

The managing agents sought to defend our client’s complaint on the basis that they did not regard themselves as the ‘person responsible’ for the statutory nuisance under section 82 (4) of the act. They argued that they could not be liable as the ‘owner’ of the premises since they have never received any rent in respect of our client’s occupation. They submitted that they receive a ‘daily charge’ from the Council from which they deduct a fee before the remainder of the funds are transferred to the freeholder. Moreover, the agents contended that the word ‘owner’ is not defined in relation to section 82 of the Act but is defined in sections 80 and 81. The Prosecutrix, they argued, relied upon the definition of ‘owner’ set out in 81A, which does not apply to section 82 of the Act:

In this section “owner”, in relation to any premises, means a person (other than a mortgagee not in possession) who, whether in his own right or as trustee for any other person, is entitled to receive the rack rent of the premises or, where the premises are not let at a rack rent, would be so entitled if they were so let”.

The managing agents went on to contend that Gunby could be distinguished from the circumstances of the instant case, since it dealt with the service of an abatement notice rather than a private prosecution under the Act, which is penal in nature.

After considering legal arguments from both sides, the Judge delivered a preliminary ruling determining that the managing agents were legally capable of being a ‘person responsible for the nuisance’ under section 82 (4). The fact that they had taken responsibility for the repairs, even if they had not caused the nuisance themselves, was persuasive evidence which supported the Judge’s view. The Judge did not accept the managing agents’ concerns that an order for abatement would be overly punitive since, if such an order were made and subsequently breached, the agents could potentially rely on the defence of reasonable excuse. As set out in Gunby, the agents could recover their expenses by making deductions from the rent collected on behalf of the freeholder and, as a result, no injustice is done to them as managing agents.

The Judge found that the agents did in fact receive rent from the property in respect of our client’s occupation. As such, the agents were acting as a trustee for the freeholder.

In considering the purpose of the section 82 EPA proceedings, the Judge considered Rose LJ’s reasoning in the ruling in Gunby, which sets out that landlord should not be able to frustrate the abatement of serious public health issues:

“The principle purpose of Part III of the Act is to ensure that statutory nuisances are promptly abated or prevented. To this end, the enforcing authority or private individual, who also has powers under the Act, should be able readily to identify a person connected with the premises who can speedily be served with a notice. By targeting the person receiving the rack rent, or the person entitled to receive the rack rent, the enforcing authority or private individual is able to identify persons sufficiently closely connected to the premises to be held responsible for their condition…”

“In my judgment Mr Williams’s submissions are correct. I pay full regard to the penal nature of the statute, creating, as it does, a criminal offence, or more accurately, one should say, restating a criminal offence… It seems, to my mind, that the reference in s.81A(9) to ‘this section’ immediately poses a question mark or ambiguity as to the meaning of owner, where it appears undefined in s.80(2). That being so, a judge is entitled to resolve that ambiguity by recourse to the overwhelming legislative history to which I have referred, a legislative history which, it is to be noted, not only precedes this Act by 150 years but also succeeds it in the terms of the Clean Air Act 1993 section 64. That being so, the answer to the question imposed by the case stated, as to whether the Crown Court was correct in concluding that the respondent was not the owner of the premises within the meaning of section 80(2)(b), is ‘no’”.

 The Judge in the instant case held that, ‘The effect of disapplying Gunby from the instant situation would be to allow the absentee landlord to frustrate the purposes of the EPA 1990.’

Bishop Lloyd and Jackson Successfully Defend Possession Proceedings and Agree Significant Damages on a Counterclaim for Disrepair

Bishop Lloyd & Jackson acted for a vulnerable client who faced possession proceedings brought by a property development company in December 2016. The company had purchased our client’s ground floor flat together with 4 other properties in 2007 after the death of the original landlord. The company had previously brought possession proceedings against our client in 2014, using the accelerated possession procedure, claiming that the tenancy was an assured short-hold one. That claim was dismissed by the Court on the basis that there was no evidence that the tenancy was in fact an assured short-hold one, despite the Claim Form making reference to the existence of a written AST agreement.  The company brought subsequent proceedings, claiming that our client was in fact an assured tenant who had moved into the property on 15 September 1990. Our client’s case was that he had been a protected tenant since the 1980’s and owed a rent of £520 throughout his tenancy. Indeed, the pre-completion report obtained by the company’s previous solicitors before the building was purchased, set out that it was possible that our client was either a controlled/protected tenant or an assured one.

The company also argued that our client was in significant rent arrears because he had failed to pay the increased rent of £900 per month following service of a section 13 rental increase notice allegedly served in September 2014. Our client brought a counterclaim for disrepair and sought compensation for breach of repairing obligation under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Judgment: In October 2017, the Claimant was unable to successfully determine at trial that our client was an assured tenant and as such could not claim that the rent had been lawfully increased. As a result, there could be no claim for rent arrears and the claim for possession could therefore not succeed. Our client was able to adduce sufficient evidence to show that the Claimant had bought the property in the full knowledge that his flat may be subject to a Rent Act protected tenancy. He was also able to adduce letters from his bank and GP Surgery to confirm that he had been resident at his address since the 1980’s.

The disrepair counterclaim brought by our client was due to be heard in February 2018. On the day of the trial, however, the parties reached settlement, with the landlord agreeing to pay damages of £15,000 for the distress and inconvenience caused to our client over several years when the property was in a state of disrepair. Most importantly, however, the landlord agreed to complete the works that the Environmental Health Surveyor had confirmed were necessary to rectify the defects in the property.

This represents a real victory for our client who not only safeguarded his right to remain in the property, but also achieved compensation for the loss of amenity experienced by his landlord’s breach of repairing obligation.

 

In the Aftermath of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, How Can the Law be Updated to Afford Greater Protection to Tenants?

Joianne Als-McClean assesses the potential impact of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill

In 2015, Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, proposed the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill. Its purpose is to ensure that homes are suitable for human habitation by giving tenants the right to take legal action against landlords who provide unsafe, defective accommodation. According to Karen Buck, the aim of the legislation is to deter those landlords who “try to cut corners and get away with letting out sub-standard accommodation.”

The law as it stands is woefully inadequate.  While section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 provides that tenants have the right to live in accommodation which is fit for human habitation, it is only applicable to properties where the annual rent is £80 or less in London and £52 or less elsewhere. Given that the rent limits in the Act have not changed since 1957 and are clearly unrealistic in today’s housing market, the provisions of section 8 do little to protect tenants who find themselves in unsatisfactory accommodation.

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies into all tenancy agreements an obligation on landlords to keep in repair the structure, installations and exterior of properties. This is unhelpful to tenants where a design defect renders the property hazardous since the landlord is not be caught by section 11 unless there has been some deterioration or disrepair to the structure or installations of the property. The absence of fire doors and fire alarms, for example, whilst clearly hazardous, does not constitute disrepair pursuant to section 11. Moreover, the presence of condensation and black mould, is not actionable under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 because it does not represent structural disrepair.

The Housing Act 2004 provides limited protection to tenants in that landlords can be compelled by local councils to undertake repairs to minimise hazards in their properties. However, the Act has various shortcomings, including the fact that individuals cannot themselves request an official investigation of potential hazards by the local authority. A further weakness is that local authorities cannot serve Improvement Notices on themselves. As a result, tenants in social housing in particular have no recourse to the limited protections afforded by the Housing Act 2004.

It is clear, then, that the law in its current state does little to prevent another tragedy like that which affected the residents of Grenfell Tower in June 2017, from occurring again.

What does the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill aim to achieve?

The Bill seeks to update the current law found in section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Its aim is to ensure that housing is fit for human habitation by amending the rental threshold so that it is up-to-date to reflect today’s market.

However, the Bill goes further than section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, by:

  • Setting out that properties must be fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy; and
  • Setting out that the landlord must keep the property in a state which is fit for human habitation thereafter.

The Bill also provides that the landlord’s obligation to ensure fitness for human habitation extends to any part of the building that he has an estate in and not just the specific property demised.

Where does the Bill stand now?

The Bill has already passed its first reading in July 2017 and is due for its second reading on the 19 January 2018.

What the Law Says About Retaliatory Eviction – A Tenant’s Guide

On 1 October 2015, the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force, providing tenants with an increased level of protection against retaliatory eviction. The provisions apply to all new assured shorthold tenancies which start on or after 1 October 2015.

This relatively new legislation prevents landlords from evicting a tenant for 6 months using the accelerated possession procedure  in the following circumstances:

  • Where the tenant has made a legitimate complaint concerning the condition of his or her property and the problem has not been addressed by the landlord; and
  • Where an Environmental Health Officer from the Local Authority has inspected the property and confirmed that remedial works are required by serving an Improvement Notice.

Tenants are advised to make timely complaints to their landlords in writing regarding disrepair issues in their properties. If there is no reasonable response within 14 days of the complaint, tenants should contact the Local Authority so that the disrepair can be verified by an Environmental Health Officer.

Once a Notice of Improvement is served on the landlord by the Local Authority, any attempt to serve a section 21 notice on the tenant by the landlord will be ineffective for 6 months and the landlord will be expected to undertake the remedial works set out in the Notice of Improvement.

The Deregulation Act 2015 also requires landlords to provide tenants with the following documentation at the beginning of a new tenancy:

  • A valid Energy Performance Certificate setting out how much it costs to heat the property;
  • A valid annual Gas Safety Certificate confirming that gas appliances have been checked and certified by a registered engineer; and
  • A copy of the booklet entitled, ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England.’

If the above documents are not given to tenants at the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice.

 

BLJ Obtain Ruling Which Clarifies the Meaning of ‘Owner’ under s.82 of the EPA 1990

In the Magistrates’ Court at Highbury Corner, Preliminary Ruling, 6 November 2017.

Our client (the Prosecutrix) brought a private prosecution against the managing agents of the property that she resided in since the freehold owner was out of jurisdiction in Cyprus. The Prosecutrix had been housed by the Council in discharge of its housing duty under section 193 of the Housing Act 1996 and complained that a statutory nuisance had existed since 2011. She sought an order under section 82 (2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to abate the nuisance complained of. She claimed that the managing agent was the ‘person responsible’ for the nuisance under section 82 (4) of the Act on the basis that it had entered into an agreement with the Prosecutrix and the Council to delivery property management and maintenance services. Further, the Prosecutrix relied upon the meaning of owner established in the case of the London Borough of Camden v Gunby [1999] 4 All ER 602. Gunby determined that on the true construction of section 80 (2) (b) of the Act, (which dealt with the ability of Local Authorities to serve abatement notices on owners of properties in which a statutory nuisance exists) the word ‘owner’ included a managing agent who received a rack rent for the premises.

The managing agents sought to defend our client’s complaint on the basis that they did not regard themselves as the ‘person responsible’ for the statutory nuisance under section 82 (4) of the act. They argued that they could not be liable as the ‘owner’ of the premises since they have never received any rent in respect of our client’s occupation. They submitted that they receive a ‘daily charge’ from the Council from which they deduct a fee before the remainder of the funds are transferred to the freeholder. Moreover, the agents contended that the word ‘owner’ is not defined in relation to section 82 of the Act but is defined in sections 80 and 81. The Prosecutrix, they argued, relied upon the definition of ‘owner’ set out in 81A, which does not apply to section 82 of the Act:

In this section “owner”, in relation to any premises, means a person (other than a mortgagee not in possession) who, whether in his own right or as trustee for any other person, is entitled to receive the rack rent of the premises or, where the premises are not let at a rack rent, would be so entitled if they were so let”.

The managing agents went on to contend that Gunby could be distinguished from the circumstances of the instant case, since it dealt with the service of an abatement notice rather than a private prosecution under the Act, which is penal in nature.

After considering legal arguments from both sides, the Judge delivered a preliminary ruling determining that the managing agents were legally capable of being a ‘person responsible for the nuisance’ under section 82 (4). The fact that they had taken responsibility for the repairs, even if they had not caused the nuisance themselves, was persuasive evidence which supported the Judge’s view. The Judge did not accept the managing agents’ concerns that an order for abatement would be overly punitive since, if such an order were made and subsequently breached, the agents could potentially rely on the defence of reasonable excuse. As set out in Gunby, the agents could recover their expenses by making deductions from the rent collected on behalf of the freeholder and, as a result, no injustice is done to them as managing agents.

The Judge found that the agents did in fact receive rent from the property in respect of our client’s occupation. As such, the agents were acting as a trustee for the freeholder.

In considering the purpose of the section 82 EPA proceedings, the Judge considered Rose LJ’s reasoning in the ruling in Gunby, which sets out that landlord should not be able to frustrate the abatement of serious public health issues:

“The principle purpose of Part III of the Act is to ensure that statutory nuisances are promptly abated or prevented. To this end, the enforcing authority or private individual, who also has powers under the Act, should be able readily to identify a person connected with the premises who can speedily be served with a notice. By targeting the person receiving the rack rent, or the person entitled to receive the rack rent, the enforcing authority or private individual is able to identify persons sufficiently closely connected to the premises to be held responsible for their condition…”

“In my judgment Mr Williams’s submissions are correct. I pay full regard to the penal nature of the statute, creating, as it does, a criminal offence, or more accurately, one should say, restating a criminal offence… It seems, to my mind, that the reference in s.81A(9) to ‘this section’ immediately poses a question mark or ambiguity as to the meaning of owner, where it appears undefined in s.80(2). That being so, a judge is entitled to resolve that ambiguity by recourse to the overwhelming legislative history to which I have referred, a legislative history which, it is to be noted, not only precedes this Act by 150 years but also succeeds it in the terms of the Clean Air Act 1993 section 64. That being so, the answer to the question imposed by the case stated, as to whether the Crown Court was correct in concluding that the respondent was not the owner of the premises within the meaning of section 80(2)(b), is ‘no’”.

 The Judge in the instant case held that, ‘The effect of disapplying Gunby from the instant situation would be to allow the absentee landlord to frustrate the purposes of the EPA 1990.’

Written by G Douglas, Trainee Solicitor

BLJ Successfully Defends Possession Proceedings, Obtaining Judgment of Significance for Vulnerable Client

Bishop Lloyd & Jackson acted for a vulnerable client who faced possession proceedings brought by a property development company in December 2016. The company had purchased our client’s ground floor flat together with 4 other properties in 2007 after the death of the original landlord. The company had previously brought possession proceedings against our client in 2014, using the accelerated possession procedure, claiming that the tenancy was an assured short-hold one. That claim was dismissed by the Court on the basis that there was no evidence that the tenancy was in fact an assured short-hold one, despite the Claim Form making reference to the existence of a written AST agreement.  The company brought subsequent proceedings, claiming that our client was in fact an assured tenant who had moved into the property on 15 September 1990. Our client’s case was that he had been a protected tenant since the 1980’s and owed a rent of £520 throughout his tenancy. Indeed, the pre-completion report obtained by the company’s previous solicitors before the building was purchased, set out that it was possible that our client was either a controlled/protected tenant or an assured one.

The company also argued that our client was in significant rent arrears because he had failed to pay the increased rent of £900 per month following service of a section 13 rental increase notice allegedly served in September 2014. Our client brought a counterclaim for disrepair and sought compensation for breach of repairing obligation under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Judgment: The Claimant was unable to successfully determine that our client was an assured tenant and as such could not claim that the rent had been lawfully increased. As a result, there could be no claim for rent arrears and the claim for possession could therefore not succeed. Our client was able to adduce sufficient evidence to show that the Claimant had bought the property in the full knowledge that his flat may be subject to a Rent Act protected tenancy. He was also able to adduce letters from his bank and GP Surgery to confirm that he had been resident at his address since the 1980’s.

Significance: The judge has made a declaration that our client is a protected tenant, thereby giving him and his family security of tenure and certainty for the future. As a result of the judge’s ruling, our client can remain in his property, which has been his home for 30 years. This case is of considerable importance to our client who can now enjoy living in his property without further litigation regarding the status of his tenancy. His counterclaim for disrepair will be heard in February 2018.

Law: What is a Rent Act Tenancy?

Rent Act tenancies are tenancies granted by private landlords before 15 January 1989. They are regulated by the Rent Act 1977 and offer the following protections:

  • Tenants can register a ‘Fair Rent’ so that the rent due remains static and cannot be increased by the landlord
  • Landlords can only gain possession if they can offer the tenant suitable alternative accommodation or if they can bring a claim within one of two distinct categories:
  • Part 1 of Schedule 15 of the Rent Act 1977: the landlord must establish the case and the Court must consider that it is reasonable to make a possession order. Cases in Part 1 of Schedule 15 include recovery for rent arrears and recovery for nuisance.
  • Part 2 of Schedule 15 of the Rent Act 1977: the landlord must establish the case and the Court must subsequently make a mandatory order for possession. Examples of cases set out in Part 2 of Schedule 15 include recovery by the owner occupier.
  • When a protected tenant dies, any spouse or civil partner living with him or her immediately before the tenant’s death can inherit the protected tenancy. A child of a protected tenant can inherit an assured tenancy provided he or she was resident in the property for two years immediately before the death of the protected tenant.

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE…

Our client, a secure tenant of a London Local Authority, suffered water leaks into her property for several years. Despite complaining to her landlord’s Repairs Team and repeatedly asking for the leak to be fixed, our client’s complaints were largely ignored. As a consequence of structural disrepair and water ingress into the property, our client’s walls were covered in thick, black mould. According to the World Health Organisation, occupants of mouldy buildings are ‘at an increased risk of experiencing respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis and asthma’ (The World Health Organisation Information Brochure, 2009). With this in mind, Bishop Lloyd and Jackson moved quickly to compel the landlord to abate the prejudicial nature of our client’s living conditions.

Having threatened to bring a Complaint against Local Authority under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as well as a claim under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, our client’s landlord took swift action to abate the nuisance and remedy the structural defects in the property. Within 8 months of writing to our client’s landlord, the leak had been remedied and the walls had been re-plastered, treated for damp and re-painted.

Our client was delighted to achieve such a positive result in such a short space of time. In an effort to avoid protracted litigation and the stress of going to trial, she accepted the Council’s offer of £5,000 in full and final settlement of her claim.

“I am very grateful to Bishop Lloyd & Jackson for resolving my housing disrepair matter. I did not expect to recover any damages, but I am relieved that I have been compensated for the years of distress that I have experienced. I have recommended Bishop Lloyd & Jackson to my neighbours who are experiencing similar housing issues and I’m sure they will find a successful resolution to their problems.”