New Year Update ‘Jarvis & Others – v – Leeds City Council’

News released here is of a limited nature due to ongoing legal action, originating from a tenancy contract dispute currently being determined by The High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division.

The tenants are in Social Housing and the contract between the tenant and landlord is legally binding which has left the Claimants’ with very little choice except to pursue a remedy through the Court’s legal and judicial process after it was felt by the Claimants’ that their concerns were not being dealt with appropriately by the landlord and now Defendant, given what was provided for in the tenancy agreement, with individual clauses outlining legal responsibilities that appeared not to be being adhered to by the landlord.

During the course of proceedings it was recognised by the Court that if Jarvis is successful in the Claim then constructive eviction may become recognised in law just as constructive dismissal currently is.

There are a few items on the table in the Claim that may surprise, as it is not just a Claim with regard to anti-social behaviour that has not (in the eyes of Jarvis) been dealt with properly, but it is about the general living conditions that Council tenants are subject to these days as there has clearly been many Council services cut back over the years, this has lead amongst other things to what is very clearly a state of disrepair on many Council run estates in South Leeds especially.

With many thousands of needy families understood to be on the housing waiting list for Social Housing, and given the current housing crisis, it is a case like this that highlights how the current housing stock is being mismanaged, with no appropriate action being taken against those tenants being found in breach of their current tenancies, causing an increase in lack of respect for authority warnings (when received), along with a lack of appreciation from those housed in Social Housing stock, contributing to the experience of residing on a local authority estate to be a negative experience for the majority, when it would be preventable if the minority, and particularly, the worst offenders were made an example of once in a while.

Those tenants acting in breach of their tenancies are warned and eventually work out that there are no real consequences for their actions as in some cases they cause, allow, and instruct children to carry out anti-social behaviour that affects the lives of others in a significant and negative way.  Many have a false belief that children are out of reach of legal consequence, despite it being clearly stated in the Tenancy Agreement that a tenant is responsible for the behaviour of their children (and visitors) as part of the legally binding agreement.

Parties to the legally binding Tenancy Agreement (Council estate tenants) are knowingly placing their own children at significant risk of harm, which is a separate and somewhat overlooked child protection issue that could potentially be addressed through the use of Children’s Services, because after all Leeds City Council continue to advertise that Leeds is “Safer Leeds” and “Child Friendly Leeds”, which up to date appears to be just a clever marketing technique to put on the letters when they make demands for money.

Imagine if part of the Council’s Housing Plans for Social Housing lead to houses being built on contaminated land’ and that if your child or family came in to contact with the ground while playing in the street or garden and areas around the new build that the poisons were high enough to cause significant visual injuries to their bodies, you would want to know wouldn’t you?  A Judgment from this Claim will address this very issue.

Imagine if you were unfairly targetted as a result of your race, disability, or gender, you would not stand for it would you? A Judgment from this Claim will address this issue too.

Imagine a housing department within a local government body just making it up as they go along and you then have an idea of the scale of problem that the Claimants’ are attempting to find remedy for.

Member of Parliament for Leeds Central, the Rt Hon Mr Hilary Benn MP has taken an interest in this matter and has opened a constituant case file, awaiting the outcome of the Claim due to the Claimants’ approaching him to ensure that the matters raised, are taken seriously to ensure that others do not have to go through the traumatic process of having to take severe action to get those in authority to provide services as advertised and that they are legally bound to provide.

It is the opinion of Jarvis that the prospect of achieving this case law is high and of greater significance than any financial remedy sought, given what has already been argued and established by the Defendant in the matter, although the learned Judge hearing the Claim will obviously have the final answer on that, with the case expected to conclude this year with the prospect of a short trial to establish one or two facts that remain in dispute.

There will be more news updates this year on the Claim as it moves forward and closer to a final Judgment that may make interesting and positive case law that Jarvis hopes will assist others to live in peace, in the comfort of their homes, and hopefully have the effect of legally preventing the conditions being subjected on a tenant that due to the inaction of their landlord that they do not feel comfortable in their own home, and make it easier for those that are subject to those conditions to take legal action against their own landlord as appropriate.

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