Thomas Norton v LB Haringey [2022] EWCA Civ 1340

21st October 2022

Nick Grundy KC and Sean Pettit represented the LB Haringey (“LBH”) the Respondent on Mr Norton’s 2nd appeal against a decision of LBH that an offer of accommodation made to him was a Private Rented Sector Offer (“PRSO”) for the purposes of the Housing Act 1996, s. 193(7AA) and thereby brought the housing duty that LBH owed Mr Norton to an end.

Mr Norton’s six grounds of appeal concerned the formal requirements to be satisfied for an offer to be a PRSO. They included that: (1) That the offer letter did not contain all of the information required under s. 193(7AB)(c) and s. 195A; (2) That the offer did not satisfy s. 173(8) in that LBH could not have been satisfied that Mr Norton could end his contractual obligations in relation to his temporary accommodation before being required to take up his tenancy of the PRS accommodation and (3) That there was no evidence that LBH could have been satisfied that the accommodation offered was in a reasonable physical condition before it made the PRSO.

Mr Norton was successful on three of his six grounds. The CA’s reasoning in relation to the first ground first ground raises some concerns in relation to PRSOs generally. Its reasoning in relation to the second ground can be addressed by LHAs. The third ground turned on the facts of the case, but illustrates the need for LHAs to have evidence on file to support its decision that any offer of accommodation is a PRSO. Nick and Sean’s note to LHAs is available here.

As LJ Males, giving the second Judgment, stated, somewhat forlornly, at [63]:

This appeal illustrates what is already well known, that housing law can be highly complex. More specifically, it demonstrates that local authorities who wish to discharge their housing duty by the provision of an assured shorthold tenancy with a private landlord must take care to ensure scrupulous compliance with the terms of section 193 of the 1996 Act.

A copy of the full judgment is available here