Friday, 20 June 2008

Hanoman v. Southwark LBC

Right after quick discussion this post has suffered the fate of many and been edited!

The case itself is a curious one, and one that I am sure many an academic will actually be foaming at the mouth to take apart.

But my real interest this time is what Southwark did. They failed to respond to the initial application for a right to buy by Mr H back in 1997. They quite simply should have acknowledged or denied his claim within 4 weeks of receipt of the RTB application. End of story.

Instead we are here a decade later, and for Southwark probably £50,000 - 100,000 (I'm guessing towards the latter figure NLegal) more poor, with this decision.

I wont say it was maladministration by the council, for a variety of reasons. But whatever the reason, the wrong decision was taken then. Maybe they were protecting their stock? You never now with council's. That is probably a side issue I suppose. But the moral from all this is...know your time limits, and adhere to them. It makes it all soo much easier.

[I did originally give a summary of this case, but it makes me grouchy so the links below will take you to:-

The full text version - http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2008/624.html

Doughty Chambers' review - http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/news/news_detail.cfm?iNewsID=262

..]

13 comments:

Nearly Legal said...

I sorry, but I don't agree with either your title or parts of your summary, I'm afraid.

The issue of notice of delay can be done by any tenant with a right to buy - whether they were on housing benefit or not was never at issue in that regard, and quite rightly so.

Second, the County Court didn't throw out Mr H's RTB proceedings - the RTB had already completed - which meant an issue of jurisdiction was at stake - could the County Court hear this claim after completion?

The Court of Appeal thus had two issues - first the validity of a collateral agreement as a basis to bring the claim - which was taken as valid. Second, did HB count as rent for the purposes of the s.153(B) set off of rent paid against premium during the period after service of notice of delay? As you say - the answer was yes it is rent for that purpose.

Sorry to go off on one, but the facts are actually crucial to this case - in fact its import is quite limited for that reason.

You are most certainly right that this will have cost Southwark a bundle - I'd guess between 50 - 100 K in costs. But it wasn't about protecting their stock per se - the RTB was admitted and the purchase had already taken place before the County Court hearing. Southwark were appealing whether a collateral contract meant pre-completion issues could still be pursued in the County Court. Turns out that, at least on these facts, they can.

Granted a timely dealing with an RTB application would have avoided most of the problem, though.

My brief take: http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/2008/06/hb-as-rent-for-rtb/
which doesn't deal with the collateral agreement issue at all.

Ethan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nearly Legal said...

Makes more sense with the missing bits ;-)

Sorry - it was a bit of a rough week on my part.

I actually meant to say a warm welcome to the select band of housing law bloggers. I'll stick a link post up on NL over the weekend to let my (few but specialist) readers know you are here.

Ethan said...

I just edited the whole thing in the end, I am quite happy for you to deal with the legal bits on this one and I shall stand on the chair pointing and shouting at Southwark!!

Nearly Legal said...

Oh damn - Ethan, I really didn't mean to be such an arse, certainly not to point where I trigger wholescale deletion and replacement of a post. When you pointed out that a couple of paras had gone missing from the post, your account made complete sense.

So, I turn up to welcome a new neighbour and proceed to insult their choice of carpet. Well done me.

Ethan said...

I think 'lol' can be rightly used here! To be honest I wasnt entirely happy with it the first time I posted it.

Annoyingly nothing sticks to me, so don't fret Mr NL. I may well revisit it soon, when the grouchiness passes about Southwark!

House said...

Hi Ethan

Good to have another housing blog that I can read instead of doing work.

I see you've met Nearly. He's usually rather more placid :)

The trouble with housing blogs is that it's difficult if not impossible to post before Nearly on something interesting.

I usually just go off on a rant to make up for it.

Ethan said...

I believe Nearly gives us something to aspire too!! :)

Simon said...

Weird, I assumed that 'Nearly Legal' was written by a female! The writing style is quite feminine... in a good way!

Ethan said...

Maybe NL is female but does this not count as one of those situations in which it would be impolite to ask?!

Nearly Legal said...

I think I came out as irrevocably male when I did the various podcasts with Charon. I'm intrigued to find out I am apparently a literary cross-dresser.

Simon said...

I don't know, I think I'd be more offended being called male if I was a female than a female if I was a male. I'd take it as a hearty compliment, NL! I much prefer women to men. Honest.

Nearly Legal said...

Simon, I admire your energy in digging that hole deeper, but I'm not sure it is helping get you out. That said, it is good to know that you are confident in your own sexual preferences ;-)

BTW I'm not offended at all, just curious as what figures my style as feminine. Is it the filigerees? The (over-use) of parenthesis? The fact that I never saw a statement I couldn't qualify - or almost never? Do tell...