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Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 219 - 31 May 2011

Tuesday 31 May 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

Possession claims and Human Rights defences: the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is handling a backlog of complaints from UK residents who were public authority tenants but who, pre-Pinnock and Powell, were unable to have a county court determination of the proportionality of their evictions. The Court has now invited responses from the UK Government to four such complaints. In Wacey-Germaine, the tenancy had been a non-secure tenancy of homelessness accommodation. For the court's statement, click here. In Buckland, the complainant had been resident on a council gypsy and traveller site. For the court's statement in that case, click here. In JL the accommodation had been provided by the Ministry of Defence. For the court's statement, click here. In Dixon, the tenancy had been terminated by one of two joint tenants. For the court's statement on that case, click here. It is not yet clear whether the cases will be compromised or fully defended. For the on-line Update to the relevant Chapter of Defending Possession Proceedings, click here.

Quality Housing Law Services: the Legal Services Commission has just published the third edition (April 2011) of its quality guide for legal advisers - Housing: Improving your Quality. For a copy, click here.

Defaulting Mortgage Borrowers: National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) and Shelter have commissioned the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York to undertake research into Assisted Voluntary Sales schemes which provide assistance to borrowers in unmanageable mortgage debt to sell their home privately to avoid possession. The researchers are now anxious to interview clients who have been in touch with such schemes but have been repossessed or sold without their lender's help. Contact alison.wallace@york.ac.uk or 01904 321480.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Investigation of Leicestershire Constabulary
Independent Police Complaints Commission
24 May 2011

The IPCC has produced a 180 page report containing over 90 findings arising from its investigation of the police response to the anti-social behaviour directed at Fiona Pilkington and her family. It identifies 33 recorded incidents between November 1997 and October 2007 when the family had contact with Leicestershire Police. Ms Pilkington also wrote once directly to police and twice to her local MP, who forwarded the letters to the force, complaining of harassment and anti social behaviour. The police were at fault in not identifying Ms Pilkington and her children as a vulnerable family and that lay at the core of their failure to provide a cohesive and effective approach to the anti-social behaviour the family suffered. For the full report, click here.

Windsor and District Housing Association v Hewitt [2011] EWCA Civ
19 May 2011

Ms Hewitt applied for a transfer from her one bedroom home on the basis that she needed a room for her son to live with her as a carer. She was granted a tenancy of a two bedroom property. Her son did not move in and did not live with her. The association sought possession using Ground 17 of Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 on the basis that they had been induced to grant the tenancy by her false statement. The judge found that Ms Hewitt's representation in her application form had become false by the time the new tenancy had been granted but since she did not remember making it the claim should be dismissed. The Court of Appeal allowed the association's appeal. There was no evidence that the representation had been forgotten and the tenant had not claimed that she had forgotten making it. For a fuller casenote, click here.

R(Ambrose) v Westminster CC [2011] EWHC Admin, CO/7671/2010
13 May 2011

The claimant applied to Westminster for homelessness assistance for herself and her stepson. The council arranged temporary accommodation for her in Hackney but eventually decided that it did not owe her the main housing duty. On the stepson's application for accommodation under the Children Act 1989, the council said that the relevant children's services authority was Hackney. The claimant sought judicial review. Westminster later conceded that there had been an error and it agreed to arrange accommodation under its Children Act powers. It declined to pay the costs. The High Court ordered that although the claim would be discontinued, Westminster should pay the costs. For a fuller casenote, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Flood Defences
(human rights defences to possession claims)
C. Stothart
[2011] May 27 Inside Housing Legal Supplement p15
For a copy of the article, click here.

Ripping off the band aid
(a day in the life of a legal aid housing lawyer)
P. Szoltysek
[2011] May 27 Inside Housing Legal Supplement p10
For a copy of the article, click here.

Avoid a brush with the law
(commentary on Beedles v Guinness Northern Counties)
R. Wassall
[2011] May 27 Inside Housing p32
For a copy of the article, click here.

Lambeth boss in court call over ants
(an application for committal in an infestation case)
K. Cooper
[2011] May 27 Inside Housing p5
For a copy of the article, click here.

Disability Discrimination
(impact of the Equality Act 2010 on possession proceedings)
DJ Anson
[2011] May 26 Law Society Gazette p23
For a copy of the article, click here.

Recent Developments in Housing Law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2011] May Legal Action p33
For back-copies of articles in this series, click here.

Housing Law Events

June 2011

8 June 2011
Development of a Landlord Registration Scheme for Northern Ireland
A Housing rights Service Event in Belfast
For the details, contact the Housing Rights Service, here.

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.

22 June 2011
Homelessness Reviews & Appeals
An HLPA evening seminar in London
For the details, click here.

23 June 2011
Housing and Anti Social Behaviour 2011
A Jordan 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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