Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 209 - 21 March 2011

Monday 21 March 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

More Housing Contracts for Legal Advisers: prospective providers of housing law advice have until 23 March 2011 to register expressions of interest with the Legal Services Commission for providing social welfare law services in North Lincolnshire, Warwickshire South, and Oxfordshire. Also, on 17 March 2011 further bid-rounds opened for contracts to: (1) provide Social Welfare Law services (including housing) in Herefordshire, Cambridgeshire and Southampton; or (2) provide a Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme for three county courts in South West Wales. For all the details, click here.

Housing Rights: on 18 March 2011 the UK Government announced the launch of a Commission to investigate the creation of a UK Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on existing obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in UK law, and protects and extends liberties. For details of the Commission members and terms of reference, click here.

Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme: the formal Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme (HMSS) in England will end in April 2011 as planned. The DCLG's Mortgage Rescue Scheme Delivery Team has suggested that lenders and advice agencies may wish to consider the viability of making efforts to register any new applicants under the HMSS given the lead-time usually involved in processing new cases.

Affordable Rent Tenancies: at the request of the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) the Charity Commission has expressed its view on the extent to which the charitable status of some housing associations may be impacted by a shift towards offering social housing tenancies at near market rents. For the details of the advice given, click here.

Equality Act duties: on 17 March 2011 the Home Secretary announced in a written ministerial statement that although the general public sector equality duty (applicable to most social landlords) would come into force in 5 April 2011 as scheduled, the UK Government was reconsidering the scope of the proposed specific duties to be imposed by regulations and that they would not now come into effect at the same time. For the announcement, click here. For the policy review paper, including the draft regulations, click here.

More protection for mobile home and caravan dwellers: the Caravans Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 received Royal assent on 16 march 2011. it gives protection from eviction and security of tenure to those living on official mobile home and traveller sites and will come into force on 16 September 2011. For a copy of the Act, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

R(FN) v Croydon LBC [2011] EWHC Admin, [2011] All ER (D) 198 (Mar)
16 March 2011

The claimant was a young unaccompanied asylum seeker who said he was 13, The council agreed to accommodate him under the Children Act 1989 but assessed his age as 15. The claimant sought a judicial review but on the eve of trial the parties reached agreement on a date to be treated as his date of birth, about which there was no independent evidence. The High Court considered the circumstances in which a declaration as to date of birth would be made when parties were agreed, given the general application of such a declaration and its impact on third parties such as other public bodies. In this case, a declaration was considered appropriate.

Complaint against Cardiff County Council Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Case no 2009/00981
15 March 2011

Miss S applied to the council for homelessness assistance when she and other members of her household were evicted from their accommodation. The council decided that in light of her mental health problems and diagnosis of schizophrenia, she lacked the capacity to make a homelessness application. On the investigation of a complaint made by Miss S's mother, the Ombudsman was critical of the process by which the council had concluded that Miss S lacked capacity and of the failure to make an immediate referral to social services so that accommodation could be provided under the National Assistance Act 1948.

Nzamy v Brent LBC [2011] EWCA Civ 283
26 January 2011

The council had to provide the claimant with accommodation because it owed him the main housing duty as a homeless person. It made an offer of particular temporary accommodation and indicated that if the offer was refused the council would consider its duty as ended. The claimant's wife wrote to the council that the offered accommodation was not suitable and that they wished to remain in their current accommodation until a permanent home could be offered. The reviewing officer treated the letter as a request for review of the 'suitability' of the offered accommodation. The Court of Appeal held that, given its wording, the letter should also have been treated as a request for a review of the council's further and later decision that the refusal of the offer had brought its duty to an end.

Housing Law Articles

Setting aside possession orders
Editorial
[2011] February Civil Procedure News p7

Raise the roof
(commentary on Pinnock and Powell)
T. Bloom
[2011] 155 Solicitors Journal, 15 March Issue p11

Wherever I lay my hat
(forthcoming Housing Benefit changes)
F. Seymour and M. Coates
[2011] March/April Adviser p13

The big minor issue
(tenancies and teenagers)
C. Kus
[2011] March/April Adviser p20

Around the houses
(Homelessness law update)
M. Mackreth
[2011] March/April Adviser p25

In the dog house
(pet ownership and housing rights)
C. fuller
[2011] March/April Adviser p33

Equal rights
(new rights for gypsies and travellers)
M. Coates
[2011] March/April Adviser p38

Longer letting
(new arrangements for taxation of landlord income)
D. Wooten
[2011] 167 Taxation No 4296 p14
For a copy of the article, click here.

Recent Developments in Housing Law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2011] March Legal Action p25

Housing Law Events

This Week

23 March 2011
Housing and the Human Rights Act
An HLPA meeting in London (speakers: HHJ Madge and Jan Luba QC)
For the details, click here.

Next Week

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.

This Spring

6 May 2011
Homelessness & Lettings Conference 2011
A Lime Legal Conference 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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