Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 185 - 4 August 2010

Wednesday 4 August 2010

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NOTE - with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court now all on Long Vacation, the next Housing Law Bulletin will be published in the Autumn.

The Latest Housing Law News

Housing and Legal Aid: the roll-out of announcements of the awards of Housing and Family and Social Welfare Law Contracts, to undertake legal aid Housing work from October 2010, has almost concluded. In the result, over 30% of current providers failed to secure a contract - including a number of very high profile specialist providers - and many others received fewer matter starts than they had sought or expected. Many appeals have been lodged. For the latest update from the LSC, click here.

Housing and Human Rights: in its latest (July 2010) report on implementation of changes required by adverse human rights judgments handed down in Strasbourg and in domestic courts, the Government has set out its current position on three housing cases: McCann v UK, Connors v UK and Morris v Westminster CC. For the full report, click here.

Mobility for Social Housing Tenants: on 4 August 2010 the UK Government announced its intention to create a National Affordable Home Swap Scheme enabling tenants of social housing to exchange homes with others across the country. For the announcement, click here. The announcement accompanied publication of the Report of the Mobility Taskforce (August 2010). For that report, click here.

Social Landlords and Tenants: social landlords are presently busy on preparations of their own Annual Report to Tenants. The TSA National Standards require that such a report is published by every social landlord before 1 October 2010. Help on the content of reports, for both landlords and tenants, is provided in The annual report to tenants: a toolkit (July 2010). For a copy of that document, click here.

Helping Housebuyers: in order to comply with requirements of EU law on free disclosure of environmental information, the UK Government announced on 29 July 2010 that it was scrapping the charge levied for personal searches of local land charges registers undertaken by prospective home buyers. For the announcement, click here. For more detail, click here.

Housing Benefit Changes: the latest update on the DWP's progress in implementing the changes to the HB scheme announced in the Budget is given in the current (August) issue of Housing Benefit Direct. For a copy, click here.

Housing and the Equality Act: the Equality and Human Rights Commission is pressing on with preparations for the intended commencement of the Equality Act 2010 in October. It has just published four new guides for service providers (including landlords) and users (including tenants). For those documents and for the EHRC's latest work on the Act, click here.

Standards for New Homes: the UK Government has announced that it is reviewing the function and content of the Building Regulations which currently specify minimum standards for construction and improvement of buildings. Comments are invited by the end of August 2010. For the details, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Sheffield CC v Wall [No.2]
[2010] EWCA Civ 922
30 July 2010
Mr Wall had been the foster child of Mrs Wall. When she died, he claimed to have succeeded to her secure tenancy. That claim initially failed. The council obtained a possession order. Mr Wall was evicted and the property was re-let to new tenants. The Court of Appeal later set aside the possession order and directed a re-trial. At that trial, the judge held that a foster child was not a "child" for the purposes of the succession provisions in Housing Act 1985 section 113. Mr Wall appealed on the basis that to exclude foster children was unlawful discrimination contrary to Art 14 ECHR. The Court of Appeal rejected his appeal. It also held that even if he had succeeded, his tenancy had ceased to be secure because he was no longer in occupation - the new tenants were (Housing Act 1985 section 81). Even if he retained a residual contractual tenancy, and even if that was not ended by the earlier possession order, it would have been ended by the notice to quit served upon him by the new tenants. For the full judgment, click here.

Daventry DC v Daventry & District Housing
[2010] EWHC 1935 (Ch)
30 July 2010
The council transferred its housing stock and housing staff to the defendant in a large scale stock transfer transaction. The terms provided that the council would pay the deficit in the pension fund of the transferring staff. It later asserted that the provision had been a mistake and that (1) there had been a common intention that the defendant would pay the deficit and (2) the defendant had owed a duty of care in the transaction. The High Court rejected the council's case. This had been a carefully negotiated and detailed contract. The common intention had changed four days before it was concluded. No duty of care was owed by a purchaser in a stock transfer negotiation. For the full judgment, click here.

Lepko-Bozua v Hackney LBC
[2010] EWCA Civ 909
28 July 2010
The claimant was a British national. Her dependent daughter was a French national. On her claim for homelessness assistance, the question arose as to whether her daughter would 'count' for the purposes of determining priority need. The Court of Appeal held that as the daughter was not exercising any relevant rights under the EU treaty or the relevant EU Directives she was a person subject to immigration control and required leave to enter or remain (which she did not have). Accordingly, she did not confer priority need on her mother under the pre-amended version of Housing Act 1996 section 185. On the assumption that the Act applied in its post-amendment form, the claimant was not owed the main housing duty because hers was a 'restricted person' case. For the judgment, click here.

Solihull MBC v Hickin
[2010] EWCA Civ 868
27 July 2010
Mr and Mrs Hickin were joint secure tenants. On their separation, he left. Mrs Hickin remained in the house with her daughter until her death, many years later. The daughter claimed that she had succeeded to her mother's secure tenancy. The Court of Appeal held that there could be no succession to a secure joint tenancy. When one joint tenant died the tenancy became a tenancy held solely by the remaining tenant by survivorship. In this case that was Mr Hickin. It was irrelevant that he had no interest in the property and was no longer occupying it. His tenancy had become non-secure and had been terminated by notice to quit. For the full judgment, click here.

R (Goremsandu) v Harrow LBC
[2010] EWHC 1873 (Admin)
26 July 2010
The claimant owned a property let, as a whole and furnished, to joint assured shorthold tenants. The tenants did not want the use of the claimant's furniture. That was moved to the conservatory of the property which became so full that the room itself could not be used. The council decided that the property was an HMO for council tax purposes because it was occupied by both the tenants (as to the most part) and the claimant (as to the conservatory). The decision was upheld by the Valuation Tribunal but the High Court allowed an appeal. The whole property had throughout been subject of the letting to the tenants. They had at all times had a legal right to use of the furniture and the conservatory itself. The property was not an HMO. For the judgment, click here.

Barnet LBC v Kani
[2010] EWCA Civ 818
23 July 2010
The defendant was a used car dealer. On receipt of complaints about the defendant trading from his home and using local streets to park his sale vehicles, the council seized 17 cars and sought an injunction under Local Government Act 1972 s.222 to require the defendant to stop. An order was granted restraining him from the sort of parking that had been troublesome to the other residents and from trading in vehicles from any residential property in Barnet. The defendant counterclaimed for return of the cars, the costs of repairs to those damaged while in the council's possession, and for loss of profits. The Court of Appeal allowed (unopposed) an appeal in respect of one part of the judge's ruling on damages but dismissed the main appeal on whether the council had offered to return the cars and against the rejection of the claim for lost profits. On the evidence, the defendant had failed to prove his loss of profit or that the council had unlawfully retained the majority of the cars.

Ramroop v Ishmael
[2010] UKPC 14
21 July 2010
The claimant sought to establish that she had acquired ownership of her home by adverse possession against the true owner. Although that claim failed on its facts, the appeal is interesting for its endorsement of the proposition that - in appropriate cases - title could be obtained by adverse possession of some part, rather than the whole, of a building or parcel of land. For the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

The Arm of the Law
(commentary on the expanding role of the Housing Ombudsman)
L. Stockdale
[2010] 30 July Inside Housing 28
To read the article, click here.

Anti-social behaviour law and policy in the UK
S. Hoffman et al
[2010] Int. Jnl. of Law in the Built Environment Vol 2 No.1 p26

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 runs to over 1000 pages and is available this month. For full details, click here.

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.
To read an independent review, 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 Events

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.

30 November 2010
Residential Landlord & Tenant Conference
A Professional Conferences event in London
For the details, click here.

1 December 2010
Housing Management Conference 2010
A Lime Legal conference in London
For the details, click here.

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