Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 178 - 14 June 2010

Monday 14 June 2010

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The Latest Housing Law News

Private Rented Sector Policy: the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps MP, announced on 10 June 2010 that the new UK Government would not be taking forward the previous government's plans for the private rented sector. So there will now be no National Register of Landlords in England, no further regulation of letting and managing agents, and no compulsory written tenancy agreements. But, in respect of bad landlords, the Minister announced that he was "putting councils on alert to use the range of powers already at their disposal to make sure tenants are properly protected." For more details of the Minister's statement, click here.

Using Private Sector Powers: much technical assistance to local authorities, on using their enforcement powers, has previously come from the organisation LACORS. For example, a helpful briefing issued on 29 May 2010 sets out when it is appropriate for local authorities to use emergency remedial action if rented premises lack heating and/or hot water. To read the briefing, click here. LACORS has also produced a helpful round-up of recent prosecutions of HMO landlords. For a copy, click here.

Representation in Possession Cases: on 9 June 2010 the Legal Services Commission (LSC) announced that the tender process will open this week for the provision of LSC housing possession court duty schemes under contracts to start in October 2010. The LSC will only contract with one single legal entity per scheme. Applicants tendering will also have to have tendered for Housing services as part of the recent SWL and Family exercises, and the award of a Housing services contract will be a condition of award of any duty scheme contract. For more details, click here.

New 'Housing' Chair: the Labour MP for Sheffield South East, Clive Betts, has been elected Chair of the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee. He was Chair of Sheffield City Council's Housing Committee from 1980-86 and has retained an interest in Housing matters. For more details, click here.

Housing Funding Cuts: the UK Government announced on 10 June 2010 where the axe would fall on current government grant (2010/2011) to local authorities. In relation to Housing, the Housing Market Renewal grant is cut by £50m, the Gypsy and Traveller site grant by £30m and the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant by £146m. For the full details, click here. In addition, the "ring fence" is being removed from the Think Family grant (£94m) used to establish Family Intervention Projects and from the Housing Market Renewal grant (£236m). For more on ring-fence removal, click here.

Homelessness: the latest national statistics on statutory homelessness in England for the period January to March 2010 were released on 10 June 2010. For the detailed report, click here.

Planning for Housing: on 9 June 2010 the UK Government issued a new edition of its Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3). It sets out the Government's strategic housing policy objectives in planning terms. It replaces PPG3 published in March 2000 and earlier editions of PPS3 published on 29 November 2006 and 19 January 2010. For a copy, click here.

Council Housing Finance: the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps MP, announced on 8 June 2010 that the new UK Government would abolish the present Housing Revenue Account arrangements for council housing finance and complete the consultation exercise on a replacement system which concludes on 6 July 2010 (see below). For more detail of the new Government's approach, click here.

Housing Benefit for Temporary Accommodation: since April 2010 measures have been in place to control or cap housing benefit expenditure on what is often very expensive (to the occupier) temporary accommodation secured by local authorities under their homelessness functions. The landlords of the accommodation may be private owners, housing associations or the councils themselves. The latest DWP Guidance is given in Circular HT/CTB S4/2010. That addresses, among other aspects, the referral of housing association landlords' rents to the Rent Officer. For a copy of the Circular, click here.

Housing Benefit Direct to Landlords: the DWP has revised its guidance on paying HB (Local Housing Allowance) direct to landlords rather than to claimants. The new guidance gives more weight to evidence given by homelessness prevention and Private Rented Sector access schemes. For further detail, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Powell v Hounslow LBC
Hall v Leeds CC

Supreme Court
29 April 2010
A panel of Justices of the Supreme Court has refused applications by the appellants in these two appeals (concerned with non-secure tenancies, introductory tenancies and human rights) to have their appeals heard together with the appeal in Pinnock v Manchester CC (concerned with demoted tenancies and human rights) which is to be considered by nine justices in July 2010. Instead, the two appeals will be heard by a panel of seven justices in November 2010.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
J. Luba and N. Madge
[2010] June Legal Action p33

Gypsy and Traveller Law Update
C. Johnson, A. Murdock and M. Willers
[2010] June Legal Action p24

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 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 June and July 2010

This Week

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.

Later in June 2010

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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