Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 216 - 9 May 2011

Monday 9 May 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

Reforming Housing Law: the House of Commons will be giving the Localism Bill further consideration in the week commencing 16 May 2011 when the Report and Third Reading stages are scheduled to take place. To view the amendments that have been tabled for discussion, click here.

Accessing Housing Law Cases: the important Case Law Digest service - giving key word search access to digests of recent housing cases - has had a significant number of new digests added in recent weeks. For details of the service which covers Homelessness, Allocations, Social Housing Management, Anti-social Behaviour and Private Sector Tenancies, click here.

Finding Legal Aid Housing Advisers and Lawyers: the on-line searchable directory of legal advisers able to help with housing problems under the legal aid scheme has moved to the DirectGov website. To find a housing specialist, click here.

New Rules on Social Housing Rent and Tenure: the statutory social housing regulator (presently the TSA) has issued a revised version of the rents and tenure sections of the National Tenancy Standard binding on social landlords. The changes reflect the new arrangements under which housing associations will be free to grant tenancies on assured shortholds at "affordable rents" (of up to 80% of market rates). The most important change is the removal of the requirement that landlord's policies "should set out how [they] will make sure that the home continues to be occupied by the tenant they let the home to". Without that change, requiring tenants to leave - once their fixed term tenancies expired under the affordable tenancies scheme - would not have been possible. For the new revisions of the Tenancy Standard, click here. For an Explanatory Note click here.

New Housing Law in Northern Ireland: on 3 May 2011 the Housing (Amendment) Act
(Northern-Ireland) 2011 received Royal Assent. The Act deals with many aspects of housing law in Northern Ireland including tenancy deposits, HMOs, anti-social behaviour, abandoned tenancies and the powers of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. For a copy of the Act, click here.

Fire safety in blocks of flats: a project on this subject funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Electrical Safety Council s being undertaken with C. S. Todd and Associates Ltd. The project group has prepared new draft guidance and released it for consultation. Responses are required by 31 May 2011. Final guidance is expected to be published in July and will complement existing fire safety guidance made available by DCLG and Local Government Regulation. For a copy of the consultation draft, click here. For more details of the project, click here.

New Homes Bonus scheme details: this new scheme for housing in England began last month. It will provide extra resources for local authorities by match-funding the additional council tax raised for new homes and for properties brought back into use (with an additional amount for affordable homes) over the next six years. The Government has set aside almost £1 billion for the scheme over the Comprehensive Spending Review period, including nearly £200m in 2011-12 and £250m for each of the following three years. For all the details of the scheme and links to the detailed documentation, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Potts v Densley & Anor [2011] EWHC 1144 (QB)
6 May 2011

The claimant had been the tenant and the defendants had been landlords of a property let on an assured shorthold tenancy. The deposit had not been registered with a deposit protection scheme. After the tenancy had ended, the tenant brought a claim for its return and for a penalty of three times the deposit under Housing Act 2004 section 215. Before the hearing the deposit was placed with a protection scheme. The judge considered that there was discretion under the Act as to whether to impose the sanction and declined to do so. The claimant appealed. The High Court decided that if there was non-compliance with the Act there was no discretion about the penalty. But as the deposit had been protected before the trial the penalty provisions did not apply: see Tiensia v Vision Enterprises Ltd (t/a Universal Estates) and Honeysuckle Properties v Fletcher [2010] EWCA Civ 1224. The fact that the defendants had ceased to be the landlords under a tenancy by the time the deposit was protected could not alter that result. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

R(TG) V Lambeth [2011] EWCA Civ 526
6 May 2011

The claimant was a young man. Lambeth provided accommodation for him between March and October 2006 when he was aged 16. The accommodation was ostensibly provided by Lambeth as a local housing authority pursuant to its interim duty under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996 section 188. Lambeth conceded that "in all probability" the accommodation should have been provided by it as a children's services authority pursuant to a duty under the Children Act 1989 section 20. The question was whether the law could treat or deem the accommodation to have been provided under section 20 so that the claimant had the rights enjoyed by a care-leaver. His claim was dismissed in the High Court but the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal on the facts. It held that the case revealed a serious absence of co-ordination within Lambeth between its housing department and its children's services department and that the circumstances advertised the need for all local authorities to take urgent steps to remedy any such failures in their own services . For a copy of the judgment, click here.

R v Meisha Cleaver [2011] EWCA Crim 983
5 April 2011
The defendant lived with her boyfriend in a flat in a block of flats. When the boyfriend's ex-girlfriend called at the flat there was a fight on the communal landing in which the defendant brandished a knife. She was charged with possession of a bladed article in a public place contrary to section 139(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal against her conviction. Access to the block of flats was restricted by an intercom system. It followed that, as a matter of law, the place where the incident occurred was therefore not a public place: Williams v the Director of Public Prosecutions [1992] 95 Cr App R 415.

Housing Law Articles

Valuable Possession
(further instalment in the practitioner debate about Pinnock and Powell )
J. Holbrook
[2011] 161 New Law Journal Issue 7464, 6 May
To read the article, click here.

Out of Control
(the housing association role on reform of ASB tools and powers)
J. Hulley
[2011] Inside Housing 6 May 2011 p24
To read the article, click here.

Recent Developments in Housing Law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2011] May Legal Action p33

Housing Law Events

This Week

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.

Later in May 2011

18 May 2011
Possession and Housing Benefit
An HLPA meeting in London
For the details, click here.

19 May 2011
Social Housing Law & Practice 2011
A Lime Legal Conference in London
For the details, click here.

June 2011

14 June 2011
New Planning Policy on Traveller Sites: All Change?
A Legal Action Group Training Event in Birmingham
For the details, click here.

20 June 2011
Homelessness & Allocations
A Legal Action Group Training Event in London
For the details, click here.

23 June 2011
Housing and Anti Social Behaviour 2011
A Jordans Publishing Conference in London
For the details, click here.

29 June 2011
Housing: the Legal Update 2011
A Northern Housing Consortium Conference in York
For the details, click here.

July 2011

14 July 2011
Emergency Homeless Applications: When to get a judge on the phone.
A Garden Court Chambers seminar 18:30 to 20:00
For the details, click here.

14 July 2011
Introduction to Housing Law
A Legal Action Group Training Event in London
For the details, click here.

20 July 2011
Bringing Disrepair Claims
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.
To access the free downloadable update to several chapters of the current edition of the book to take account of recent cases such as Pinnock and Powell., 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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