Case details

Nottingham City Council (Appellant) v Parr and another (Respondents)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0073

Case summary

Issue(s)
  1. Whether the Housing Act 2004 s.67, which empowers a local authority licensing a house in multiple occupation ("HMO") to impose conditions regulating the use or occupation of the house, includes the power to limit the category of person for whom the HMO is suitable – for example, students.
  2. If conditions imposed under s.67 can so limit the class of person for whom an HMO is suitable, whether the conditions attached by the Tribunals and the Court of Appeal below are rational
Facts

The Appellant is a local authority which granted HMO licences to the Respondents in relation to two properties. Because the attic rooms in each property were below the minim size specified in the Appellant’s guidance, the HMO licences contained conditions prohibiting the use of the attic rooms for sleeping unless adapted to increase their floor space. The Respondents challenged these restrictions in the First-tier Tribunal ("FTT"). The FTT deleted the restrictions from the licence. It found that both properties had an over-provision of communal space which compensated for the small size of the attic rooms, and that those rooms were suitable for student or similar cohesive occupation. This decision was upheld by the Upper Tribunal, with the result that a condition was attached to each HMO licence that the attic rooms could only be used for sleeping accommodation by a student who lived in it for a maximum period of 10 months per calendar year. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision, adding two further conditions that the rest of the house must also be occupied by students in order to ensure cohesive living, and that the communal areas must be made available for the occupants of the attic rooms. The Appellant now appeals to the Supreme Court. The Appellant has contended throughout that the legislation did not permit licensing conditions by reference to an occupier’s personal characteristics, and that an HMO property had to be suitable for the life of the licence for use by any type of occupier (rather than particular types) and that the conditions imposed were unclear, unworkable and therefore unenforceable.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 188

Parties

Appellant(s)

Nottingham City Council

Respondent(s)
  1. Dominic Parr
  2. Trevor Parr Associates Ltd

Appeal

Justices

Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones

Hearing start date

13 Jun 2018

Hearing finish date

13 Jun 2018

Watch hearing
13 Jun 2018 Morning session Afternoon session