Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 183 - 19 July 2010

Monday 19 July 2010

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The Latest Housing Law News

Mortgage rescue: having announced a review of arrangements for helping defaulting homeowners, the Government has ended the special Fast Track Mortgage Rescue Scheme arrangements (provided by a team in Birmingham) for England. The fast track team has not taken new applications since the end of June and will close at the end of next month. Ordinary applications for help under the MRS can still be made in the usual way through local housing authorities. For more details of the MRS in England, click here.

Gas safety in rented housing: as part of its latest Gas Safe Register Campaign, launched on 15 July 2010, the Health and Safety Executive has updated its advisory material for landlords dealing with tenants' gas safety. For the campaign details, click here. For the landlord's guide, click here.

Rough sleeping: the latest count of rough sleepers in England was released on 15 July 2010. For the figures, click here.The Housing Minister announced that he was sceptical of the methodology of the count and would begin a consultation on reviewing arrangements for future counts. For that announcement, click here. In a fuller statement, the Minister described the figures as indicating an "eleven year low". For that statement, click here. He also announced publication of a new guide for GPs, health professionals and probation staff dealing with rough sleepers with mental health problems. For a copy of that guide, click here.

Park homes: in a written Ministerial statement on 14 July 2010 the Government announced an intention to move the jurisdiction of county courts - in relation to disputes between mobile home park site owners and residents - to the Residential Property Tribunal Service by the end of 2010. For a copy of that statement, click here.

Rural housing: a new report from the CIH and Commission for Rural Communities was published last week. For a copy of Financial Inclusion and Rural Social Housing, click here.

Homelessness and minority communities: for a copy of the recent report from the Race Equality Foundation, Linking black and minority ethnic organisations with mainstream homeless service providers, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Mayor of London v Hall and Others
[2010] EWCA Civ 817
16 July 2010
The defendants took possession of Parliament Square Gardens in London to establish a Democracy Village peace camp. The ownership of the Square is vested in the Crown and it is managed by the Mayor on behalf of the Greater London Authority. The Mayor sought a possession order. The defendants claimed that he had no right to seek possession because a possession order could only be granted to a claimant with better legal title than the persons in actual occupation. The Court of Appeal upheld a possession order made by the judge. The statutory scheme made by the Greater London Authority Act 1999 gave the Mayor the right to seek possession. For the full judgment, click here.

Mexfiield Housing Co-operative Limited v Berrisford
[2010] EWCA Civ 811
15 July 2010
The parties entered into a tenancy agreement which provided that the tenancy would continue until the landlord gave notice to quit which could only be given for reasons specified in the agreement. The claimant gave notice to quit and sought possession. When the tenant sought to defend the claim based on the terms of the agreement, the landlord asserted that the agreement had failed to create a tenancy because a tenancy needed to have a definite term. The Court of Appeal agreed, holding the tenancy void for uncertainty. Wilson LJ decided that the agreement was nevertheless enforceable as a contract between the parties but the majority of the Court held the agreement void, as a result of uncertainty, for all purposes. For the full judgment, click here.

Poplar HARCA v Howe
[2010] EWHC 1745(QB)
13 July 2010
Mr and Mrs Howe were joint assured tenants of Poplar HARCA. They separated. Mrs Howe applied for rehousing as a homeless person and gave notice to quit to end the tenancy. Poplar sought possession on the basis that, the tenancy having ended, Mr Howe had no right to remain. The judge made a possession order. Mr Howe sought permission to appeal on the basis that the underlying law which entitled the landlord to possession was not compatible with the ECHR (gateway (a)) and/or that the decision to seek possession had been made in breach of public law principles (gateway (b)). The High Court refused permission to appeal. The gateway (a) challenge was foreclosed by the decision of the House of Lords in Qazi. The gateway (b) challenge was unarguable on the facts.

Salford CC v Mullen and Birmingham CC v Frisby
12 July 2010
The Supreme Court has granted the tenants permission to appeal in these two introductory tenancy cases. Frisby will be heard on 23 and 24 November 2010 with Hounslow LBC v Powell and Leeds CC v Hall. Mullen has been stayed to await judgment on those cases and judgment in Manchester CC v Pinnock (which was heard in July 2010).

R (Bucks CC) v Kingston RLBC
[2010] EWHC 1703 (Admin)
12 July 2010
A disabled adult was placed by the defendant at a special residential centre in the claimant's area pursuant to its duties under National Assistance Act 1948 section 21. On a later needs assessment, the defendant agreed to help the disabled person move to more independent living on an assured shorthold tenancy in a nearby shared house. But the disabled person continued to need help with her special needs. Once the move had been arranged, the defendant informed the claimant that the disabled person was now resident in their area and had become their responsibility. The claimant sought judicial review of the placement decision contending that the defendant had been under a duty to consult it before undertaking the placement in a shared supporting people scheme. The High Court rejected the claim that the defendant had been under a duty to warn or consult the claimant. There had, however, been a failure to resolve the housing benefit position in relation to the new placement. For the full judgment, click here.

C v Nottingham CC
[2010] EWCA Civ 790
1 July 2010
The claimants were two young adults who had been accommodated (separately and later together) under duties owed to the homeless in Housing Act 1996 Part 7. They claimed that while still children they should have been accommodated under childrens' services functions: Children Act 1989 section 20. They sought a declaration that they were entitled to care-leaver services. The High Court refused permission to seek judicial review and they appealed. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Without admission of liability, the council had agreed to voluntarily provide the claimants with the services they would have had as care-leavers. The Court was not prepared to entertain what had thus become an academic appeal. For the full judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2010] July Legal Action 26

The right side of the law
(commentary on Lewisham LBC v Wilson)
S. Greenwood
[2010] Inside Housing 16 July p41
To read the article, click here.

Resident Upheaval
(commentary on Southwark LBC v Austin)
C. Collins and G. Peaker
[2010] 154 Solicitors Journal 16

Housing & the Equalities Act 2010
D. Roberts
[2010] 140 Adviser 22

Security of tenure for almshouse residents
I. Loveland
[2010] July Legal Action 23

Homeless 16/17 year olds
C. Fuller
[2010] 140 Adviser 30

Throw us a bone
(legal services in housing cases)
R. Conway
[2010] 154 Solicitors Journal 6

Shaky foundation for policy
(new UK government policy on the private rented sector)
D. Wilson
[2010] 107 Law Society's Gazette, 15 July 2010, p10

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

[This week] 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

Autumn 2010

9 September 2010
Applying Article 8 ECHR to secure Accommodation for Persons Subject to Immigration Control
A Garden Court Chambers evening seminar.
For full details, click here.

10 September 2010
Recent Developments in Housing Law
A Legal Action Group training event in London
For full details, click here.

14 September 2010
Tenancy Agreements
A CIH conference in London
For full details, click here.

16 September 2010
Housing Allocation and Homelessness
A Jordans conference in London
For full details, click here.

22 September 2010
The Homelessness Update 2010
An HLPA General Meeting in London
For the full details, click here.

24 September 2010
Using Public Law in Housing Cases
A Legal Action Group training event in London
For more details, click here.

30 September 2010
Preventing Homelessness and Protecting Homeowners National Conference 2010
A Lime Legal event in London
For more details, click here.

7 October 2010
Social Housing Allocation Conference 2010
A Lime Legal event in London
For more details, click here.

14 October 2010
Judicial Review Conference
A Garden Court Chambers one-day conference in Birmingham on all aspects of judicial review
For full details, click here

14 October 2010
Anti-social Behaviour and Social Housing conference 2010
A Lime Legal event in London
For more details, click here.

21 October 2010
Anti Social Behaviour Possession Claims and Injunctions
A Garden Court Chambers evening seminar
For the details, click here.

11 November 2010
Gypsies, Travellers and Unauthorised Encampments
A Garden Court Chambers evening seminar
For the details, click here.

17 November 2010
The Housing Law Update 2010
An HLPA General Meeting in London
For the details, click here.

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