Social housing case law updates: October 2013
R (on the application of MA & ORS) v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions & Birmingham City Council (Interested Party) & (1) Equality & Human Rights Commission (2) Shelter (Interveners)  EWHC 2213 (QB)
Changes to the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 which had altered the basis on which maximum housing benefit in relation to public sector housing was calculated were lawful as they could not be said to have been plainly without reasonable foundation, and the provision of extra funding for discretionary housing payments could not be said to be a disproportionate approach to the difficulties that some disabled people faced under the changes.
Caroline Francis v (1) Brent Housing Partnership Ltd (2) London Borough of Brent (3) Vinette Williams  EWCA Civ 912
A judge had erred when determining that a local authority housing tenant did not have a secure tenancy of a flat following a possession order issued against the tenant, as a subsequent agreement between the parties showed an unequivocal intention on both sides to create, or to recognise, a secure tenancy.
Grace Winifred Grimason v Jonathan Cates  EWHC 2304 (QB)
A judge hearing an application to set aside a possession order had not been wrong to determine the issue of service at the tenant’s usual or last known residence. The proposition that such an issue could only be for trial and not for summary judgment was wrong.
R (on the application of Ewing) v Camden LBC  EWHC 2542 (Admin)
A local authority was entitled under the Housing Act 1985 Sch.3 Pt 3 to withhold its consent to the mutual exchange of properties by secure tenants where the incoming tenant would have an extra bedroom to that required, and it did not have a duty under s105(3) to consult in relation to a change of policy in that regard. Nor was it prevented by the Housing Act 1996 s160(2)(c) from adopting broadly similar policies for allocation and for mutual exchange.
Durkan v Madden (2013) 16/9/13 Chancery Division – Norris J
Evidence doubting a defendant’s legal capacity to conduct proceedings had not been sufficiently strong to dislodge the conclusion by another court that she did not lack capacity, or to require an adjournment. In the defendant’s absence the court did not grant rights of audience to a lay representative, but continued with a hearing concerning the continuation and alteration of two freezing injunctions.
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