Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 199 - 4 January 2011

Tuesday 4 January 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

Allocating Social Housing: on 21 December 2010 the latest figures were released on lettings of homes by social landlords in England. They provide the most up to date estimates on who got what social housing tenancies and where. For the full data tables, click here.

Legal Help on Housing Issues: on 23 December 2010 the Legal Services Commission (LSC) published the details of the individual awards of LSC contracts to specific firms and agencies to undertake legal advice and assistance on Housing Law matters (as part of Social Welfare Law contracts) and to run possession-day schemes at local county courts. The details are not particularly easy to access on the LSC website but to start your search, click here.

Homeless Single People: in December 2010 the charity CRISIS published research that it had commissioned from the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York. The research report contains a review of single homelessness in the UK over the past 10 years. It provides an overview of the recent history, causes and policy responses to single homelessness, and reviews how successful policies have been in tackling single homelessness. For a copy of the research report, click here.

The new Affordable Rent Housing Association Tenancy: the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) has published a series of very recent presentations on the nature and regulation of these new tenancies. For a copy of them, click here. The TSA's current consultation on regulation of the new tenancies closes on 2 March 2011.

Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour: on 4 January 2011 the Coalition Government announced that eight police forces will take part in trials of a new approach to dealing with complaints of anti-social behaviour. The trials, which will run between January and July 2011, will test a new approach based on five key principles, which will be tailored to each area. The five are: (1) creating an effective call handling system where each individual has a log of complaints created from the very first call; (2) introducing risk assessment tools to quickly identify the most vulnerable victims; (3) installing off-the-shelf IT systems to share information on cases between agencies, removing the need for meetings; (4) agreeing a protocol across all local agencies setting out how they will manage cases; and (5) engaging with the community to clearly set out the issues which are causing the most harm to individuals and neighbourhoods, and setting how the police, other local agencies and the public can work together to address them. The eight pilot forces are: Avon and Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan Police, South Wales, Sussex and West Mercia.

Service Charges: some long leases granted by social landlords, typically in older 'leasehold schemes for the elderly', contain a clause that limits the amount that the landlord may charge in respect of the management element of the service charge. In December 2010 the TSA published a memorandum on the limit for 2011/2012. For a copy of that, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Ashdale Land & Property Company v Maioriello [2010] EWHC 3296 (Ch)
20 December 2010

The claimant owned a private road. It granted a right of access over the road, limited to agricultural purposes, to the predecessor in title (a Mr Maioriello) of land purchased by Mr Cash. Without planning permission, Mr Cash established an unauthorised gypsy caravan site on his land. He used the road to transport construction materials to the site and thereafter to afford access to the residents. The claimant sought and obtained injunctions to prevent such use of its roadway but they were ignored. It therefore blocked access altogether by putting in place large concrete blocks. In an action for trespass, the High Court held that the company had been entitled to block access as the only available method of preventing further trespass on its land. For the judgment, click here.

Doran v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government [2010] EWCA Civ 1525
7 December 2010

The claimant is a traveller living on an unauthorised caravan site in the Green Belt. He sought but was refused planning permission and an Inspector upheld the local council's decision. The High Court dismissed an appeal. The Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal on the basis that the claimant has a real prospect of success in establishing that the Inspector had not adequately dealt with the possibility of granting temporary planning permission.

Brittain v Haghighat [2010] EWCA Civ 1521
2 December 2010

The trustee in bankruptcy of a husband sought an order for possession and sale of the family home. The High Court granted the order but postponed its effect for three years on account of the hardship that might otherwise be suffered by the youngest child of the household. The bankrupt and his wife appealed. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. No grounds had been made out for interfering with the High Court's decision. For the judgment, click here.

R (Tallington Lakes Ltd) v Grantham Magistrates Court [2010] EWHC 3403 (Admin)
25 November 2010

Tallington Lakes is a large leisure park in Lincolnshire. The council claimed that Tallington Lakes Ltd (TLL) was liable to pay non-domestic rates for it. The company said that the liability lay with its group holding company THL. The magistrates' court accepted the council's case and made liability orders against TLL. The High Court allowed an appeal. The correct question was: who, if anyone, was in occupation or control of the whole site? The answer that it was TLL not THL could not be supported on the available evidence.

R v Millicent Okumo Reading Magistrates Court
3 November 2010

The defendant landlord was prosecuted for offences contrary to the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and the Housing Act 2004 section 11. These were: six offences under Regulation 7 - failure to ensure that fixtures and fittings used in the common parts were maintained in good repair, which included missing a window pane to the dining room, a broken WC, missing kitchen cabinet door, dirty and poorly maintained common parts; three offences under Regulation 8 - including poor repair of a bedroom window, leaking ceiling, a collapsed ceiling; two offences under Regulation 4 - the fire alarm system was not maintained in good working order; and one offence under Section 11 of the Housing Act 2004 - failure to comply with an improvement notice requiring fire safety works to be done. The 12 separate offences were proved and the maximum £5,000 fine imposed for each offence. The total fines were therefore £60,000 and the magistrates also awarded the prosecuting authority, Reading Borough Council, its costs of £2,667. For more details, click here.

Housing Law Articles

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

Property Focus
Various authors
Issued with (2010) 154 Solicitors Journal No 47
Including articles containing commentary on Manchester CC v Pinnock, tenancy deposits and possession proceedings.

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.

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.


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