Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 198 - 20 December 2010

Monday 20 December 2010

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The Latest Housing Law News

New housing legislation for England: last week the Coalition Government introduced the Localism Bill in the UK Parliament. Part 6 deals with almost every dimension of housing law. It contains proposed new rules on: allocation of social housing; homelessness; security of tenure in social housing; succession rights; disrepair; an expanded role for the housing ombudsman; social housing regulation, abolition of HIPs. For an online copy of the Bill, click here. The Bill can be downloaded as two separate PDF files, available by clicking here. For the Explanatory Notes, click here. For the Government's briefing on the "decentralisation" aspects of the Bill, click here. The Second Reading of the Bill in the Commons is scheduled for 17 January 2011 - three days after the consultation exercise on the housing aspects closes. For the consultation paper, click here.

The new Affordable Rent Housing Association Tenancy: the introduction of this new form of tenancy does not require primary legislation so it is not included in the Localism Bill. Instead, the necessary changes can be achieved by alterations to housing association funding and regulatory arrangements. On 16 December 2010 the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) launched a consultation exercise on the changes required to regulation of tenancies. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here. The consultation closes on 2 March 2011.

More action on Social Housing Fraud: on 16 December 2010 the Housing Minister announced that the 51 councils doing the most to tackle housing fraud will receive a share of £19 million new funding next year. They will be supported by a dedicated national action team, based at the Chartered Institute of Housing, which will be available to offer practical support and advice to local authorities looking to tackle tenancy fraud in their areas. For the announcement and for the list of the councils awarded Unlawful Occupancy Funding for 2011/12, click here.

Exporting the Homeless: it is anticipated that the 2011/2012 restrictions on Housing Benefit (HB) will not only generate an increase in the number of households presenting to local councils for homelessness assistance but will also lead to the increased export of such households away from high-rent areas to low-rent areas for provision of temporary accommodation. A report to a Westminster Council committee on 14 December 2010 noted that: "the split between in borough and out of borough accommodation for the foreseeable period is likely to move from the current 70:30 in favour of in borough to 80:20 in favour of out of borough by 2016." [para 8.3]. For a copy of that report, click here.

Housing and Anti-Social Behaviour: on 16 December 2010 the Coalition Government announced that the new powers to obtain county court injunctions to stop violence and other anti-social activity by gang members would be brought into force on 31 January 2011. For the announcement, click here. The procedural arrangements for obtaining the new injunctions are contained in Civil Procedure Rule 65 Part 8, available by clicking here. The Home Office has published extensive statutory guidance on how the new powers can be exercised by local councils and the police. For a copy, click here.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme for Scotland: on 21 December 2010, the provisions of Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, which makes provision in relation to tenancy deposits will be brought into force. Sections 120 to 122 make provision about tenancy deposit schemes. Section 120 defines what is meant by "tenancy deposit" and "tenancy deposit scheme". Section 121 contains regulation making powers. Section 122 makes provision for the approval of tenancy deposit schemes, publicity and consultation requirements and the review of schemes. For the commencement order, click here.

Abandoning Tenancies: last week Northern Ireland joined Scotland in adopting procedures for the termination of abandoned social housing tenancies. The new procedures are contained in Article 19A(3) of the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. A new rule prescribes the notice to be served where it is believed premises have been abandoned. For a copy, click here. A further notice has been prescribed to enable social landlords to deal with property left behind in the abandoned home. For a copy of that, click here.

Disabled Facilities Grants: since last week disabled residents in five local authority "trailblazer" areas have had the right to choose the form in which to take their disabled facilities grants and other statutory assistance from state sources. A further three large local authority areas join the scheme in Spring 2011. For the details, click here.

Consents for Local Councils: on 16 December 2010 the Coalition Government published a new set of "general consents" giving local authorities power to dispose of their housing and to make monies available to housing associations and other landlords in their areas. For a copy of the new consents, click here.

Controlling standards in house building: on 16 December 2010 the Coalition Government published its response to an initial consultation exercise on the future of the Building Regulations. For a copy of the document, click here. The plan is to develop further detailed proposals for consultation with a view to deregulation and streamlining of the technical and procedural aspects of the regulations. For the Government's policy announcement, click here.

Service charges: next week, on 29 December 2010, modifications take effect to the provisions governing the calculation for the inflation allowance to be added to a landlord's estimate of the service charges payable by the tenant for repairs and major works in the initial period of a right to buy lease. For the amendment Order, click here. For the Explanatory Memorandum, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Cala Homes (South) Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government [No.2] [2010] EWHC 3278 (Admin)
16 December 2010
The claimant sought judicial review of: (1) the statement of the Secretary of State on 10 November 2010 that local planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate should have regard to the Government's stated intention to enact primary legislation in the future to abolish Regional Strategies as a material consideration in making determinations under the Planning Acts; and (2) a similar statement by the Government's Chief Planner given by letter dated 10 November 2010 sent to all local planning authorities. Initially, the court granted a stay on the statement/letter of 10 November 2010 but on an application to remove the stay the High Court accepted a commitment from the Secretary of State to inform local planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate of the claim for judicial review and advise them that it will be for them to consider whether the challenge and the basis for it affect the weight to be given in their decisions to the statement and letter of 10 November 2010. The judgment contains guidance as to how planning authorities may wish to act until the claim is tried in January 2011. For the transcript, click here.

R v O [2010] EWCA Crim 2233
13 October 2010

The Crown alleged that the defendant had given a false identity, date of birth and national insurance number on a series of applications for mortgages. It prosecuted for offences contrary to section 17(1) of the Theft Act 1968 which applies where a person gives false information in a document "made or required for any accounting purpose". The judge directed an acquittal on the basis that a mortgage application was not such a document. The Court of Appeal overturned that ruling and held that, without any further direct evidence of the accounting practices of the lender, a jury is entitled to come to the conclusion that an application for a mortgage or a loan made to a commercial institution is a document required for an accounting purpose. For the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
J. Luba and N. Madge
[2010] December Legal Action 34

Kay v UK: the Article 8 struggle continues
D. Watkinson
[2010] December Legal Action 39

Manchester CC v Pinnock in the Supreme Court
I. Loveland
[2010] December Legal Action 31

Fit to be a landlord?
J. Luba
[2010] 14 Landlord & Tenant Review 212

The sell-to-rent market revisited
R. Crozier
[2010] 14 Landlord & Tenant Review 221

Mortgage repossession - just a little more time
D. Dovar
[2010] 14 Landlord & Tenant Review 225

Editor's Notebook
(commentary on Mayor of London v Hall)
M. Dixon
[2010] Conveyancer & Property Lawyer 423

Security of tenure for tenants of fully mutual co-ops
I. Loveland
[2010] Conveyancer & Property Lawyer 461

Human rights, security of tenure and rent control
(commentary on Gauci v Malta)
G. Griffiths
[2010] Conveyancer & Property Lawyer 488

Periodic tenancies and the problem of certainty of term
S. Bridge
[2010] Conveyancer & Property Lawyer 492

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.
To read a review by Robert Latham, 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

21 January 2011
Recent Developments in Housing Law
A LAG training day in London
For the details, click here.

11 February 2011
Public Sector Housing Law Conference 2011
A Jordan Publishing conference in London
For the details, click here.

10 March 2011
The Mental Capacity Act 2005: Where are we Now?
A Garden Court Chambers half day seminar on conducting cases in the Court of Protection.
Full details coming soon.

28 March 2011
Housing Benefit, Rent Arrears and Possession Proceedings
A LAG training day in London
For the details, click here.

1 April 2011
Housing & Support for Migrants
A LAG training day in London
For the details, click here.

Merry Christmas from Garden Court Chambers!

The Garden Court Housing Team would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The Housing Law Bulletin will return in 2011.


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