Late is fatal: reviews under s.107D, Housing Act 1985

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R (Kalonga) v Croydon LBC [2021] EWHC 2174 (Admin) The flexible tenancy is a form of secure tenancy which local authorities have been able to offer to tenants since the amendments made by the Localism Act 2011. The key feature of the flexible tenancy is that it is for a fixed term (generally five years) and, at the end of that term, the landlord decides whether to offer a new tenancy or not; if the decision is negative, then the tenant has 21 days to request a review of the decision. Ms Kalonga was the flexible tenant of Croydon LBC. Her fixed term expired in May 2020 (i.e. during the coronavirus lockdown) and the local authority served notice on her at the property, telling her that they did not intend to grant her a new tenancy. Unfortunately, because she had been spending lockdown in the north of England with her mother, she did not actually receive the notice until a few days after the 21-day period for requesting a review had expired. She asked the local authority to accept her review, albeit outside the 21-day period. The local authority refused, contending that it had no power to do so. Ms Kalonga sought judicial review. The claim was dismissed. The 21-day period could not be extended. Similar statutory schemes where extensions or late reviews had been permitted (e.g. homelessness reviews and introductory tenancy reviews) were not analogous. In particular, the general powers of housing management vested in local authorities by s.21, Housing Act 1985, were not sufficient to enable an authority to entertain a late review. The High Court has, however, granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Justin Bates led Anneli Robins of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Sq for Ms Kalonga. They were instructed by GT Stewart solicitors. The judgment is here.

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