Reply To: Appeal – Strange situation!

Kevin D

I completely echo Peter’s observations with one other, possibly unwelcome (to some), addition.

In dealing with “exempt accommodation” cases, some LAs have had contact with landlords and/or related parties such that by any objective view, the LA has undoubtedly been “negotiating”. Sometimes, that “negotiation” has been in good faith with a view to limiting possible difficulties. On other occasions LAs have, frankly, been seeking to make decisions that are politically, or adminstratively, expedient with benefits legislation being a mere inconvenience.

My view, fairly well known on this issue, is that LAs simply should not be “agreeing” with landlords as to the basis of its decisions. The case here is a classic example as to why. There is no legal basis for such “agreements” or “negotiation” and, further, such “agreements” have a nasty habit of coming back to bite the LA (first hand knowledge).

So, while appreciating your (probable) annoyance Ben, the (apparent) failure of the LL to keep its word is not at all surprising. In fact, if I had been a betting man……all too predictable 😯 . As Peter points out, no agreement can take away the right of appeal in an individual case – even if the facts happen to be identical in other, decided, cases.

Just for completeness and for fair warning, there is another tactic that has, on occasion, been used by LLs (and/or related consultants) in exempt accommodation cases. It goes like this:

1) LA makes restriction decision that is ultimately appealed
2) Tribunal finds for LA

At that point, the LA thinks “great”, we were right. Until….

3) LL reduces rent by a couple of £ per week, OR, makes purported minor change to other arrangements.
4) LA is forced to make new “outcome” decision.
5) Yet another appeal…….

All I can say is, the best of luck Ben. You’ll need it.