PLT Masthead 430

Masthead Housing - Regulation

High Court rules on whether children are ‘residents’ for HMO rules

Children aged under 18 are ‘residents’ for the purpose of calculating how many people live in a house in multiple occupation, the High Court has ruled.

Supperstone J had been asked by local landlord Sinnathurai Paramaguru to rule on whether Ealing Magistrates' Court had been correct to hold that children up to 18 are residents within the meaning of Class C4 of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes Order) 1987, and whether the magistrates had jurisdiction to state a case.

Mr Paramaguru was in February 2017 charged with one offence of breaching a planning enforcement notice over an HMO which he owned.

Following the magistrates’ ruling he entered a guilty plea and the case was committed to Isleworth Crown Court under s.70 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for confiscation proceedings to be considered, and sentence. That hearing though was adjourned pending the outcome of the High Court appeal over the magistrates’ decisions.

Giving judgment in Paramaguru v London Borough of Ealing [2018] EWHC 373 (Admin), Supperstone J said the magistrates were right to rule that children under 18 are ‘residents’ in such cases and had had jurisdiction.

He said that otherwise uncertainty would be introduced with local authority control of HMOs “likely to be made more difficult through the introduction of uncertainty if [they] have to assess whether children are ‘young’ or ‘very young’”.

Mark Smulian

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