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Case against social landlord with "no basis for liability" must be struck out

A community interest company’s case against a social landlord was “hopelessly muddled” and must be struck out, a judge has said.

HHJ Worster, sitting as a judge of the High Court at the Business and Property Courts in Birmingham, said that Midland Living CIC could bring an amended claim by 20 October, so long as it paid the resulting additional costs of Prospect Housing.

He said in his judgment that Midland Living provides supported housing for vulnerable people and there are contracts of management, lease and rental agreements between it and Prospect Housing.

Midland Living claimed Prospect Housing had failed to make contractual payments totalling £1,253,725.89.

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Prospect Housing admitted it had contracts with Midland Living but said nothing required it to make payments within 14 days of invoice as claimed.

The judge said: “The way the claim is pleaded reveals a number of defects in the claim.”

He said it rested on a management agreement in which liability to pay rent and service charges did not arise and the “express and implied terms” relied upon provided “no basis for liability” and it was also unclear how the sum claimed was calculated.

“The upshot is that the claimant has yet to plead a sustainable basis for its claim, or to produce a satisfactory calculation of how the sum claimed is arrived at. That is over six months after the claim was issued,” he said.

The judge added: “Those responsible for preparing the claimant’s claim in this case have failed to understand and/or express the legal basis for it, or to provide the information about it which the defendant is entitled to.”

HHJ Worster struck out the claim but said an amended one could be issued by 20 October subject to conditions around costs.

Mark Smulian

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