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Home » bulletins » Housing Law Bulletin » Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 238 - 25 October 2011

Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 238 - 25 October 2011
(Published on Tuesday, 25 October, 2011)


The Latest Housing Law News

Housing Law Reform: the last significant chance for amendments to the housing law provisions of the Localism Bill will be in the House of Lords' Third Reading stage scheduled to take place on 31 October 2011. The Bill is likely to receive Royal Assent in November. For the latest version of the Bill, as amended by the House of Lords at Report stage (the housing provisions are in Part 6), click here.

Mortgage arrears and repossessions: on 18 October 2011 the Council of Mortgage Lenders published new guidance for its members on the recovery of arrears and claims for possession. For a copy of the new guidance, click here.

Private rented sector: on 18 October 2011 the UK Government published the Private Landlord Survey. This is a national survey of landlords and managing agents who own or manage privately rented properties in England. The survey indicates that most landlords have very few properties and letting is not their main activity: 78% of all landlords only owned a single dwelling for rent and only 8% of landlords said they were full time landlords. For the full report, click here.

Under-occupation: on 19 October 2011 the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) published its research into the intergenerational tensions around the use of housing in England. IF suggests that there is an intergenerational crisis in how housing stock is used and that there are now 25 million surplus bedrooms in under-occupied houses in England. For a copy of the report, click here.


The Latest Housing Case Law

Ahmed v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions [2011] EWCA Civ 1186
21 October 2011

The claimant had been a private sector tenant living with her severely disabled son. After she had lived in the property for six years, the landlord defaulted on his mortgage repayments and the lender obtained a possession order. The claimant bought the property on an interest-only mortgage and claimed those interest payments as part of her housing costs. The claim was refused. The First-tier Tribunal allowed an appeal but the DWP successfully appealed to the Upper Tribunal. The Court of Appeal dismissed the claimant's appeal. The case could not be brought within Schedule 3 paragraph 4(9) of the Income Support (General) Regulations 1987 because the loan was not taken to acquire "alternative" accommodation. For the full judgment, click here.

Rochdale BC v Dixon [2011] EWCA Civ 1173
20 October 2011

Mr Dixon was a secure council tenant. In 2007 he took a deliberate decision not to pay sums in respect of water charges which were being levied in addition to his rent. Arrears accumulated. The council sought and obtained a conditional postponed possession order. Mr Dixon appealed on the grounds that: (1) the arrangement for collection of the water charges made with the utilities company had been beyond the powers of the council; (2) the tenancy agreement had not been varied properly to enable collection of the charges; (3) the new tenancy terms permitting recovery were ''unfair'; and (4) making a possession order was unreasonable. The appeal failed on all four grounds. For the full judgment, click here.

Abdullah v Westminster CC [2011] EWCA Civ 1171
19 October 2011

Mrs Abdullah, her husband and their adult son lived together in a council house with the husband's mother. The husband and mother were the joint tenants. Mrs Abdullah sought homelessness assistance under Housing Act 1996 Part 7 when her mother asked her to leave. The council's reviewing officer decided that she was not homeless. An appeal against that decision to the county court was dismissed. The Court of Appeal dismissed a further appeal. The property was plainly the matrimonial home in respect of which Mrs Abdullah enjoyed rights of occupation capable of protection in family law. There had been no error of law in the decision that she had accommodation available to her which it was reasonable for her to continue to occupy. For the full judgment, click here.

Dimopoulos v Valakis [2011] EWHC (QB) [2011] All ER (D) 172 (Oct)
20 October 2011

The claimant owned a house in which he had permitted the defendant to live. The claimant decided to sell the house and told the defendant to leave. The defendant claimed that he had reached an agreement under which if he refurbished the house (which he had done) the claimant would allow him to remain. The defence was struck out. The High Court dismissed an appeal. Even if the matters pleaded in the defence were true, they could not support the defendant's case that he was an assured tenant as there was no rent payable and no term of the tenancy.

R(B) v Nottingham CC [2011] EWHC (Admin) [2011] All ER (D) 180 (Oct)
20 October 2011

The claimant was a pregnant girl aged 16. Her mother was not prepared to accommodate her and the expected baby. The claimant sought assistance with accommodation and was provided with a place in a specialist unit for pregnant teenagers under the homelessness duty in Housing Act 1996 section 193. She sought judicial review of decisions by the council's social services department not to treat her as a 'child' to whom it owed duties under Children Act 1989 sections 17-20. Her claim was dismissed. The council had been entitled to find that she was not a 'child in need' and that she had suitable accommodation in the unit.

Parsons v Thatchers Wood Residents Co [2011] EWHC (Ch) [2011] All ER (D) 190 (Oct)
20 October 2011

The claimant owned one of 33 houses on a private housing development. Restrictive covenants in relation to all the properties required that the plots were to be used to provide a private dwelling of 'single family occupation'. The claimant wanted to build another dwelling on his plot. He sought a declaration that the covenant only restricted the use and occupation of the original houses. The High Court refused a declaration. The covenant clearly restricted use of the whole property to a single dwelling for a single family.

R(Sheridan) v Basildon DC [2011] EWCA Civ, unreported
17 October 2011

The claimant sought permission to apply for a judicial review of the decision of the council to use direct action to evict her (and other families) from land at Dale Farm that she was occupying in breach of planning enforcement notices. She claimed that the decision to evict was disproportionate and was flawed because the council had not performed its duty under Housing Act 2004 section 225 to assess the needs of gypsies and travelers. On 12 October 2011 the High Court refused permission to apply for judicial review on grounds of delay and the absence of merits. The Court of Appeal refused an application for permission to appeal from that decision. The evictions began on 19 October 2011.

R(Konodyba) v Kensington & Chelsea LBC [2011] EWHC 2653 (Admin)
17 October 2011

The claimant sought permission to apply for a judicial review of the decision of the council not to provide her with temporary accommodation on her homelessness application. Before that application for permission could be considered, she sought and was granted an interim injunction requiring the council to accommodate her. The council applied to set aside the injunction. The High Court allowed that application. The claimant had been guilty of serious non-disclosure in seeking the injunction. She appeared to have been occupying private rented accommodation identified by the council, had not explained her connection with that property and had not given an account to the court as to where she had in fact been living prior to the grant of the injunction. Her claim for an injunction and her resistance to the council's application to discharge it had amounted to "gross abuse" of the court's discretion to make an interim order on an application for judicial review.

R(Markos) v Southend County Court [2011] EWHC 2726 (Admin)
17 October 2011

Mrs Markos had been the defendant in proceedings for possession of a house. A possession order was made. A warrant was issued to be enforced on 30 November 2010. She sought permission to appeal against the possession order and on 19 November 2010, pending the determination of that application, the High Court stayed enforcement of the order. On 30 November 2010 an officer of the county court forced entry to the property in execution of the warrant and only withdrew when shown the High Court order for a stay. (The High Court later refused permission to appeal against the possession order and the stay was discharged.) Mrs Markos sought a judicial review of the actions of the county court's enforcement officer. Permission to apply for judicial review was refused. In the light of disposal of the main appeal, any claim would be academic and, in any event, had been brought long out of time.

Sajjid v Rajan [2011] EWCA Civ 1180
24 August 2011

The claimant was landlord and the defendant was tenant under a 15 year lease of a corner shop. The defendant ran the shop and lived in the accommodation above it. The shop business failed and it closed. The defendant continued living above. When the lease expired the landlord sought possession. The court granted a possession order. The business had ceased, so that no security of tenure was available under Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 Part II. Nor was there any residential security of tenure because the premises had not been 'let as a dwelling'. The Court of Appeal refused an application for permission to appeal. There was no arguable basis for suggesting that a possession order should not have been made.

R(Jakpa) v Willesden County Court [2011] EWHC 2654 (Admin)
19 August 2011

The claimant had occupied accommodation let to him as a student by a housing association. His successive fixed term tenancies had expired and he faced a claim for possession. A district judge decided that the letting had been a student letting under the Assured and Private Tenancies (Lettings to Students) Regulations 1988, it had been lawfully terminated, the tenancy enjoyed no security of tenure and a possession order had to be made. Permission to appeal against that decision was refused by both the district judge and a circuit judge. The claimant sought judicial review of the refusal of permission to appeal. The High Court dismissed the judicial review claim. There had been no procedural impropriety and the decisions made had been within the jurisdiction of the county court to make.

Housing Law Articles

Recent developments in housing law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2011] October Legal Action p31
For back-copies of articles in this series, click here.

Tenancy deposit schemes
S. Smith
[2011] 277 Property Law Journal p9

Plasterwork is part of the structure
M. Higgin
[2011] 277 Property Law Journal p17

Where are we now (on unfair terms in tenancy agreements)?
H. Marshall
[2011] 277 Property Law Journal p21

Hitting a wall
(commentary on landlords' possible reaction to the riots)
A. Samuels
[2011] 155 Solicitors Journal No. 39 p13

 

Housing Law Events

1 November 2011
Mental Capacity and Housing
A Legal Action Group Training Event in London
For the details, click here.

8 November 2011
Homeless Children in Need
A Legal Action Group Training Event in London
For the details, click here.

10 November 2011
Disrepair: Penetration, Infestation and Hibernation
A Garden Court evening seminar in London
For the details, click here.

16 November 2011
Housing Law Update
A Housing Law Practitioners Association meeting in London
For the details, click here.

25 November 2011
ASB & Social Housing Conference 2011
Annual Conference run by Lime Legal in London
For the details, click here.

25 November 2011
Housing Law Conference
Annual Conference of the Social Housing Law Association in London
For the details, click here.

29 November 2011
Human Rights for Housing Providers: are you compliant?
A Conference in Leeds
For the details, click here

1 December 2011
Residential Landlord & Tenant Update 2011
A Professional Conferences event in London
For the details, click here.

14 December 2011
Housing Law Conference
Annual Conference of the Housing Law Practitioners Association in London
For the details, click here.

Housing Law Books

Defending Possession Proceedings
The new (seventh) edition of Defending Possession Proceedings by Jan Luba QC, John Gallagher, Derek McConnell and Nic Madge - which runs to over 1000 pages - has been published. Price: £55.00. For full details, click here.
To read an independent review, click here.
To watch an independent review, click here.
To access the free downloadable update to several chapters of the current edition of the book to take account of recent cases such as Pinnock and Powell, click here.

Housing Allocation and Homelessness
The new (second) edition of Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice by Jan Luba QC and Liz Davies has been published. Price: £50.00.
For full details, click here.
To read a review by Robert Latham, click here.
To read another independent review, click here.

Repairs: tenants' rights
The new (fourth) edition of Repairs: tenants' rights by Jan Luba QC, Deirdre Forster and Beatrice Prevatt has been published. Price: £45.00. For full details, click here.
To watch an independent review, click here.
To read an independent review, click here.

Housing Law Handbook - 10% off
The Housing Law Handbook, edited by Stephen Cottle and written by other members of the Garden Court Housing Team, covers possession proceedings, homelessness rights, the allocation of social housing, and other routes into housing. To claim your 10% discount, order online and quote promotion code GCTHLH when prompted.
To read an independent review, click here.

 

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