Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 193 - 15 November 2010

Monday 15 November 2010

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The Latest Housing Law News

Evicting Homeowners: on 11 November 2010 the latest mortgage repossession figures were published. For the figures published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, click here. For the official statistics on court action for repossession click here. The latter indicate that over 3000 possession orders are being made every month but the statistics published by the Mortgage Rescue Scheme (MRS) show that the scheme has helped only 1,456 households to complete the full rescue process since the scheme's launch in January 2009 . For the MRS figures, click here.

Evicting Tenants: the latest official statistics show that the number of possession claims brought against tenants is increasing. Some 33,960 landlord possession claims were issued in the third quarter of 2010 (July to September) which, on a seasonally adjusted basis, was 1% higher than in the third quarter of 2009 and 2% higher than in the second quarter of 2010. For the full figures, click here.

Evicting Squatters: on 8 November 2010 the Government published an on-line guide for homeowners - Advice on dealing with squatters in your home. For a copy, click here. Launching the guide, the Government said that there were an estimated 20,000 squatters in the UK. For the news release, click here. For the Courts Service's guidance notes on the procedure for homeowners to recover possession from squatters, click here.

Representation on possession day: on 12 November 2010 the Legal Services Commission (LSC) announced that new contracts for the Housing Possession Court Duty Solicitor Schemes that it funds will start on 15 November 2010, with some awards being conditional on the outcome of appeals. On this basis, some schedules will only last two and a half months, until the end of January 2011.For that announcement, click here.

Legal Aid for Housing - a new era: from Monday 15 November 2010 the vast majority of legal aid housing work will be exclusively conducted only by those firms/agencies which have been awarded a 2010 Civil Contract by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to carry out Social Welfare Law work and which have been authorised to commence work under the contract. The full terms of the 2010 Contracts and the Specifications which accompany them are in the new LSC Manual at Volume 2 (Civil). For publication details for the LSC Manual, click here. The only other way to find a legal aid housing lawyer will be through a firm/agency which has a 2007 Unified Contract for Housing with Family. The LSC announced on 12 November 2010 that those types of 2007 Unified Contracts will be further extended to 30 November 2011 for those providers with the Family and Housing category who do not hold the Social Welfare Law category under the 2010 contract. For the latest announcements relating to both types of contract, click here.

Decent homes: in the October 2010 Spending Review the Government announced that it will invest over £2bn of capital funding to help towards completing the Decent Homes programme which was due to have ended this year. Funding of £1.595bn is available over the next four years to help make local authority social homes decent (with an additional £0.510bn being provided for 'gap' funding existing stock transfers). On 12 November 2010 the Housing Minister announced that the targeting of the funding would change and that the Homes and Communities Agency would now ensure that the decent homes funding is allocated where it is most needed. For a copy of the announcement, click here.

Private rented sector: two research reports on the private rented sector were published last week. The first compared rents paid by those on Housing Benefit with those who were not on benefit. For a copy of that report, click here. The second provides an international comparison of investment in private renting with the situation in the UK. For a copy of that, click here.

Building more Housing: in the light of the judgment in the Cala Homes case (see below) the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government last week restated the Government's commitment to abolishing Regional Strategies in the planning system. For the announcement, click here. The change will be made by the Localism Bill to be introduced in Parliament later this year. In the meantime, planning officers have been advised to take the Government's intentions into account. For a copy of the letter that they were sent last week, click here. On 12 November 2010 the Government gave more details of its proposed 'New Homes Bonus' (NHB) designed to provide funding to councils which agree to the development of new homes in their areas. For the consultation paper, which invites responses by 24 December 2010, click here. For an outline of the NHB scheme, click here.

Housing in Scotland: the Housing (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 3 November 2010. It will introduce a new form of regulator for social housing in Scotland and reform the right to buy. For a copy, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Tiensa v Vision Enterprises Ltd [2010] EWCA Civ 1224
11 November 2010

VE Ltd brought a possession claim for rent arrears. Ms Tiensa counterclaimed for damages equal to three times the deposit she had paid because the company had not protected her deposit by placing it with one of the approved schemes within 14 days of payment. By the date of hearing, the deposit had been registered with one of the schemes. The Court of Appeal dismissed Ms Tiensa's appeal. The judge had correctly held that a penalty of awarding damages of three times the deposit would not apply if the deposit had actually been protected. Even if that had compliance had happened late - perhaps even on the eve of the trial of a claim for the penalty damages. In a dissenting judgment, LJ Sedley said the ruling drained the scheme of its intended effect. For the full judgment, click here.

Earl Cadogan v Panagopoulos [2010] EWCA Civ 1259
11 November 2010

The majority of lessees of flats in a large building exercised their right to acquire the freehold. One of the other flats was used by the resident caretaker. If that was a "common part" the lessees were entitled to the freehold of it. The Court of Appeal held that, for the purposes of the enfranchisement legislation, the caretaker's flat was a common part. The judgment contains a useful discussion of the meaning of "common" parts in tenancy agreements and statutes. For the full judgment, click here.

R (Cala Homes (South) Ltd) v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government [2010] EWHC 2866 (Admin)
10 November 2010

The claimant was a house-building company which had made planning applications to build new homes in South East England. On 6 July 2010 the Secretary of State made an order under the Local Democracy, etc Act 2009 revoking all Regional Strategies, including the South East Strategy. The claimant sought judicial review of that decision. The High Court was satisfied that the use of power had been improper because it was inconsistent with the purpose for which it had been created. Revocation of strategies would require new primary legislation. The decision was quashed. For the judgment, click here.

R (Gallagher) v Basildon DC [2010] EWHC 2824 (Admin)
9 November 2010

The council had been considering what action to take under its planning powers in respect of a travellers' site. It collected personal information about the circumstances of the travellers and included that detail in the public papers considered by its relevant committee. The occupiers complained to the local government ombudsman about this invasion of their privacy. He upheld their complaint and recommended that the council apologise and pay £300 compensation to each complainant. The council agreed to make the apology but refused to pay any compensation. The High Court allowed a judicial review of that decision and quashed it. The council had taken into account irrelevant matters, not considered relevant matters and its decision was not a rational response to the recommendation made. For the judgment, click here.

Bank of Scotland v Hussain [2010] EWHC 2812 (Ch)
5 November 2010

The bank advanced a secured loan to enable a house purchase by the male defendant. He was buying from the female defendant. She later succeeded in having the sale transaction set aside and the ownership of the property was transferred back to her. But in those proceedings the judge held that the bank's charge was still valid. It then sought possession. The female defendant claimed that her rights as a person in occupation when the loan was made defeated the bank's claim. The High Court rejected that defence on the ground that she had waived her rights by consenting to the loan and it made a possession order. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
J.Luba & N.Madge
(2010) October Legal Action p28

Getting past the gatekeepers Part 2: how to secure interim accommodation
L. Davies & J. Luba
[2010] November Legal Action p42

The rule in Hammersmith and Fulham LBC v Monk reconsidered.
D. Cowan and T. Gallivan
[2010] 13 Journal of Housing Law p107

Schedule 11 of the HRA 2008: the awkward position of introductory tenancies
V. Babington and S. Salmon
[2010] 13 Journal of Housing Law p112

Tomlinson: a supreme case of clutching at straws in the wind: Part 2
C. Baker
[2010] 13 Journal of Housing Law p101

Defences to possession proceedings
(commentary on Kay v UK)
C. Collier
[2010] 259 Property Law Journal p6

Eviction overhaul
(commentary on Manchester v Pinnock)
P. Hayes
[2010] 12 Nov Inside Housing p33
For a copy of the article, 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 runs to over 1000 pages and was published last month. Price: £55.00. For full details, click here.
To watch an independent review, 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 an 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.

Housing Law Events

This Month

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

26 November 2010
SHLA Fifth Annual Conference 2010
A Social Housing Law Association event 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.

Next month

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

1 December 2010
Annual Crime and ASB Conference 2010
A Northern Housing Consortium conference in York
For the details, click here.

15 December 2010
HLPA Annual Conference
A London Conference
For the details, click here.

 

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