Case law: R(H) 7/07

Case Name R(H) 7/07
Case law date 07/03/2007
Commissioner Commissioner Turnbull
Organisations Involved 1. Manchester City Council
  2. Reside HA – The accommodation provider.
  3. Regard – The care provider.

1. The issue was whether the accommodation provided by Reside Housing Association was “exempt accommodation” where the landlord provides care, support or supervision.

Tribunal wrongly read in the requirement landlord must be the main care provider

2. The Tribunal had erred in law by reading in a requirement that the landlord must be the “main” provider of care/support.

“In my judgment the Tribunal was wrong in stating that the definition of “exempt accommodation” requires that the landlord be the “main” provider of care, support or supervision. In my judgment it is simply not right to read in any such requirement. The definition requires merely that the landlord provides the claimant with care, support or supervision. Had any such limitation been intended, it could and would have been made expressly” (para 21).

Legal test only requires some care/support from the landlord

3. The legal test only requires some care/support, not that the landlord is the main provider.

Landlord’s care/support must be more than minimal

4. Any care/support provided by (or on behalf of) the landlord must be more than minimal to satisfy the definition of “exempt accommodation”.

“However, in order to satisfy the definition the care, support or supervision which the landlord provides must in my judgment be more than minimal. It is a general principle of statutory construction that, unless the contrary intention appears, a statutory provision by implication imports the principle conveyed by the Latin maxim de minimis non curat lex …the law does not concern itself with trifling matters; or, as by Brooke LJ put it in Sharratt v London Central Bus Co Ltd. [2003] 4 All ER 590 at [226], “the law does not care about very little things”): see Bennion, Statutory Interpretation, 4th ed., Section 343. There is no reason why that principle should not apply here. It cannot in my judgment have been intended that that a landlord can bring itself within the definition by providing a token or minimal amount of care, support or supervision” (para 23).

5. The Commissioner found the support provided to the claimant by Reside’s tenant liaison officer was minimal given his limited contact with the claimant and many other tenants. Therefore he held the accommodation was not “exempt accommodation”.