Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 176 - 24 May 2010

Monday 24 May 2010

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The Latest Housing Law News

Government Housing Policy: last week the new UK Government published its full programme - The coalition: our programme for government. For a copy, click here. Housing measures and legal aid commitments announced include: (1) "we will provide more protection against aggressive bailiffs and unreasonable charging orders, ensure that courts have the power to insist that repossession is always a last resort, and ban orders for sale on unsecured debts of less than £25,000"; (2) "we will explore a range of measures to bring empty homes into use"; (3) "we will promote shared ownership schemes and help social tenants and others to own or part-own their home"; (4)"we will carry out a fundamental review of Legal Aid to make it work more efficiently"; and (5) "we will introduce effective measures to tackle anti-social behaviour and low-level crime, including forms of restorative justice such as Neighbourhood Justice Panels."

Home Information Packs abolished: on 20 May 2010 the new Housing Minister announced that primary legislation would be introduced to abolish HIPs. For the announcement, click here. Pending the enactment of that legislation, the requirement for sellers to prepare a HIP has been suspended from 21 May 2010 by the Home Information Pack (Suspension) Order 2010 SI No. 1455. For a copy of that Order, click here. But in light of this change, the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 SI No. 1456 introduce a new duty for sellers of residential property in England and Wales to secure the commissioning of an energy performance certificate ("EPC") before putting the property on the market. For a copy of the regulations, click here.

Specialist Housing Law Advice for Citizens Advice Bureaux: under new arrangements, frontline CAB staff are now able to access free online specialist support on Housing Law queries from CAB colleagues at the National Homelessness Advice Service. For more details, CAB staff should click here.

New Legal Aid Minister: in the new UK Government, Jonathan Djanogly MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, has been allocated responsibility for Legal Aid and Legal Services at the Ministry of Justice. For all the new ministers in the department, click here.

Shared Ownership: the Homes and Communities Agency, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the National Housing Federation have revised and updated their Shared Ownership: Joint Guidance for England. For a copy, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Nessa v Tower Hamlets LBC
[2010] EWCA 559
20 May 2010
Two secure tenants claimed the right to buy their flat. The council acknowledged their right and notified a purchase price which the tenants accepted. Before the transaction was completed, the council served a replacement offer notice specifying a purchase price £50,000 higher. The tenants, in receipt of legal advice, accepted that offer too. They later sought to complete the purchase at the earlier, lower price. The Court of Appeal held that the acceptance of the offer made in the second notice discharged by mutual agreement all rights or obligations arising from the first notice. The tenants could not buy at the first-offered price. For the full judgment, click here.

R (Siddique) v Newcastle Magistrates Court
[2010] EWHC 1096 (Admin)
10 March 2010
The claimant owned a house in Newcastle. In January 2008, on an application made by the police, the magistrates' court made a closure order under section 2 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. The court also ordered the claimant to pay £5000 in reimbursement of the police costs of "clearing, securing or maintaining" the premises pursuant to section 8 of the Act. In August 2009, the claimant sought judicial review of the payment order. He argued that the costs claimed had included those incurred in the process leading-up to the closure order which could not be reimbursed under section 8. Following the grant of permission to apply for judicial review, the Chief Constable indicated that a quashing of the payment order would not be opposed. The High Court rejected a claim for the costs of the judicial review proceedings. The claim would probably have failed given the delay and the availability of alternative remedies.

Housing Law Articles

A Family Affair (Part 2)
(ownership of family property)
M. Mackreth
[2010] May/June Adviser p22

The crackdown
(tackling fraud in social housing)
M. Coates
[2010] May/June Adviser p29

One for all, all for one
(joint tenancies)
M. Cunningham
[2010] May/June Adviser p34

The net is closing in
(regulation of charitable social landlords in England)
P. Hubbard
[2010] Inside Housing, 21 May p33.
To read the article, click here.

Eyeing a change
(regulation of social landlords in Scotland)
J. McMorrow
[2010] Inside Housing, 21 May p33.
To read the article, click here.

Housing Law Books

Housing Allocation and Homelessness - new edition
The new 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.

Repairs: tenants' rights
The new 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, provides a first port of call for lawyers and advisers dealing with housing. The book 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.

Housing Law Consultations

Closing on 28 May 2010
The Welsh Assembly Government consultation exercise on intermediate housing for rent in Wales and a "rent first" model. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 28 May 2010
The Scottish Government's consultation on the protection of tenants of social housing with rent arrears. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 6 July 2010
The UK Government's consultation on new proposals for council housing finance. For the consultation documents, click here.

Closing 20 July 2010
The consultation exercise on the proposed new procedural rules for the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Housing Law Events in May, June and July 2010

This Week

27 May 2010
Part 6 and the Allocation Game
HLPA General meeting in London
For the details, click here.

27 May 2010
Homelessness Update
An SHLA training event in London
For the details, click here.

June 2010

4 June 2010
Mortgage repossessions: law, practice and reform
An Oxford Housing Seminar
For the details, click here.

14 June 2010
Introduction to Housing Law
A Legal Action Group Training Day in London
For the details, click here.

17 June 2010
Public Law Defences and Article 8
A Garden Court Chambers evening seminar.
For the details, click here.

25 June 2010
Housing and Anti-Social Behaviour
A Jordans Conference in London
For the details, click here.

28 June 2010
Housing Disrepair
A Legal Action Group Training Day in London
For the details, click here.

29 June 2010
Housing Law 2010
An NHC Conference in York
For the details, click here.

July 2010

2 July 2010
Law on Trial 2010: Housing
A Birkbeck College Social Rights evening seminar
For the details, click here.

8 July 2010
Possession 9/10ths of the law? Not for tenants
A Garden Court Chambers evening seminar
For the details, click here.


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