Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 207 - 28 February 2011

Monday 28 February 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

Housing law amendments: this week, the Commons Committee considering the Localism Bill will be debating amendments to the Housing provisions in Part 6 of the Bill. Among the amendments tabled for consideration are proposals to reform the law on tenancy deposits in the light of the Court of Appeal decision in Tiensia. It is hoped that amendments drafted by Shelter, HLPA and possibly SHLA may be considered. For the current list of amendments tabled for debate, click here.

Mortgage Rescue Scheme (England): the Mortgage Rescue Team at the Department for Communities and Local Government has issued a "Delivery Partner Briefing" jointly with the Homes & Communities Agency. It explains to those involved with the Mortgage Rescue Scheme (MRS) in England precisely how the changes in scheme arrangements are to take effect. A companion "Update for households interested in Mortgage Rescue" leaflet explains the changes for members of the public. Neither document has been published but both are available on the free MRS Communities in Practice On-Line Forum which can be joined by clicking here.

Affordable Rent Social Housing: the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) consultation on regulating this new form of tenure closes on Wednesday 2 March 2011. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Housing Statistics: on 24 February 2011 the Department for Communities and Local Government published the English Housing Survey (EHS) Headline Report 2009-2010 containing the latest facts and figures on all aspects of housing in England. For the full statistical tables, click here. For a summary of the findings, click here.

Disabled Facilities Grants: last week the Building Research Establishment completed its commission to evaluate the current method for allocating Disabled Facilities Grant funding to local authorities, with a view to proposing new methods that were simpler, fairer and more transparent. For a copy of its final report, click here. In January 2011 the Government wrote to local authorities in England to explain that in 2011-12 there would be £180m available to be distributed as Disabled Facilities Grant funding to local authorities - £11m more than was available in 2010-11. For a copy of the letter, click here.

Limiting the Right to Buy (in Scotland): on Tuesday 1 March 2011 provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 come into force limiting the right to buy for tenants granted Scottish secure tenancies of new supply social housing. The tenant is to be given a warning notice, 7 days before commencement of the tenancy, indicating that it does not carry a right to buy. For the regulations prescribing the form of notice, click here. In contrast, other regulations provide that an accrued right to buy will not be lost where a secure tenant moves to alternative social housing when their former home has been demolished or repossessed. For those regulations, click here.

Rough sleeping: Westminster City Council is consulting on the making of a byelaw to prevent rough sleeping and to prohibit soup runs from operating in part of its district. The consultation runs until 25 March 2011. For the consultation document, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

London Borough of Hounslow v Powell, Birmingham City Council v Frisby, Leeds City Council v Hall [2011] UKSC 8
23 February 2011

Three councils brought possession proceedings against three tenants. Two were introductory tenants and one was a non-secure tenant (of accommodation rented by the council from a private landlord and provided in performance of homelessness duties). In each case the appropriate notice had been served and the county court judges held that they were bound to make orders for possession. In the introductory tenancy cases, the statute provided that the court "shall" make a possession order. In the non-secure tenancy case, the notice to quit had ended the right to occupy and the defendant was a trespasser. The Supreme Court held that both the statute and the common law had to be read so as to provide the defendant with an opportunity to defend the possession claim on the basis that the making of an order would not be "proportionate". That was necessary in order to give effect to the right to respect for a home in Article 8 of Schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998. Such a defence should only be entertained if it was "seriously arguable". The county court judge determining such a defence could consider and resolve factual matters put in issue by the defendant as well as taking into account her personal circumstances. If the making of an order would be proportionate, in cases brought against tenants with no security of tenure, the giving-up of possession could not be delayed more than 6 weeks as a result of Housing Act 1980 section 89. For the judgment, click here. For a seminar later this week reviewing the impact of the judgment see "Events" listing below.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council v Denby [2011] UKUT 65 (LC)
11 February 2011

A mid-terrace house in the council's area had lain empty for years and fallen into serious disrepair. Despite a conviction for failing to comply with a statutory notice relating to the overgrown gardens (served under Town & Country Planning Act 1990 section 215) and the offer of a repairs grant, the owner took no remedial action and the council later became unable to trace him. It therefore made a Compulsory Purchase Order, issued a General Vesting Declaration to acquire the freehold, and sold the property under a bidding arrangement which committed the successful purchaser to bringing the house into habitable repair. The Lands Chamber directed that the owner be paid £65,000 from the £68,000 realised by the sale. For the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
J. Luba and N. Madge
[2011] February Legal Action p42

Suspend or postpone: revisited
R. Denford
[2011] Vol.161 New Law Journal p270

Tough Sanctions
(commentary on Tiensia v Vision Enterprises Ltd and tenancy deposits)
M. Walsh
[2011] Vol.161 New Law Journal p280

Housing Law Events

3 March 2011
Article 8: "Is that Possession Order Proportionate"
A Garden Court Chambers seminar 18:30 to 20:00
For the details, click here.

10 March 2011
The Mental Capacity Act 2005: Where are we now?
A Garden Court Chambers half-day seminar
For the details, click here.

23 March 2011
Housing and the Human Rights Act
An HLPA meeting 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.

6 May 2011
Housing Disrepair
A LAG training day in London
For the details, click here.

11 May 2011
Defending possession proceedings
A LAG training day in London
For the details, click here.

12 May 2011
Update on Anti-Social Behaviour Claims: Are they Winnable?
A Garden Court Chambers seminar 18:30 to 20:00
For the details, click here.

18 May 2011
Possession and Housing Benefit
An HLPA meeting in London
For the details, 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 - which runs to over 1000 pages - has been published. Price: £55.00. For full details, click here.
To read an independent review, 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 a review by Robert Latham, click here.
To read another 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.

 

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