Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 227 - 26 July 2011

Tuesday 26 July 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

Social housing law reform moves closer: the housing provisions of the Localism Bill were the subject of the closing debates in the Committee Stage in the House of Lords last week. Many housing-related amendments have been carried forward to the Report stage in September. For a copy of the Bill as it stands now, click here. For the debates on the housing provisions in Committee on 20 July 2010, click here. The National Housing Federation has reported that it successfully pressed for three Government amendments: (1) to remove the requirement that a tenancy with a fixed term exceeding three years must be executed as a deed; (2) to remove the requirement that a tenancy with a fixed term exceeding seven years must be entered at the Land Registry; and (3) to make Ground 7 available so that the landlord of an assured tenant can regain possession if the tenant has died and the tenancy has been inherited by someone not qualifying as a successor. For more details, click here.

Housing law advice in emergencies: the Legal Services Commission (LSC) announced on 21 July 2011 that all emergency legal aid certificates granted from 1 May 2011 will now remain in place for eight weeks. This arrangement will be reviewed in three months time. Advisers are, however, reminded of the importance of checking eligibility for such certificates. For more details, click here.

Housing Benefit Circulars: on 20 July 2011 the DWP issued its seventh general Housing Benefit Circular of the current year giving advice on the latest developments. For copies of that, and of the earlier circulars, click here.

Housing and Health: on 22 July 2011 the National Housing Federation published Invest in housing, invest in health. The report shows the contribution housing associations can make to the health agenda. For a copy, click here.

Supported Housing & HB: on 20 July 2011 the Government published Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing: Proposals for Change in the Way Housing Benefit Assists Those Living in Supported Housing within the Social and Voluntary Sector with their Rent: Public Consultation. The paper seeks views on the Governments proposals to change the method by which help with rent is worked out for those who live in supported housing within the social and voluntary sector. For a copy, click here. Responses should be made by 9 October 2011.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council v Norton [2011] EWCA Civ 834
21 July 2011

Mr Norton was dismissed from his post as a school caretaker. He lived in the caretaker's house as a tenant of the council. The council ended the tenancy by notice to quit and sought possession - in order to re-let the house to its new caretaker. Mr Norton had no security of tenure and a judge made a possession order. He appealed on the grounds that: (1) the council had failed to have regard to his disabled daughter's needs before seeking possession contrary to the duty in section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and (2) to make an order for possession was disproportionate having regard to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and to the Human Rights Act 1998. The Court of Appeal rejected the council's case that it had not been obliged to take into account the disability duty before seeking possession. Its failure to do so had been unlawful. However, the judge had been correct to hold that, even if the duty had been performed, it would have made no difference to the result. On the specific facts, a possession order was inevitable and Article 8 added nothing to the disability duty point. The just result was to allow the possession order to stand on the basis that the council would comply with the disability equality duty before seeking to execute the order. For the judgment, click here.

R(NH) v Lambeth LBC [2011] EWHC 1917 (Admin)
5 July 2011

The claimant sought judicial review arising from the council's statutory duties to support him. Shortly before trial, his solicitors served notice of discontinuance. The council sought an order for costs. The High Court decided that the council was entitled to its costs but because the claimant had a legal aid certificate his liability would be fixed at an amount set by the Court under section 11 of the Access to Justice Act 1999. As the only evidence before the court was that the claimant's income was simply the £40pw paid by way of support by the council itself, his liability was assessed at "nil".

Islington LBC v Murdoch [2011] EWCA Civ 846
26 May 2011

On the death of a secure tenant, a daughter remained in possession with no right of succession. The council agreed that she should be given a 'discretionary inherited tenancy' and accepted rent. The council later sought possession on the basis that there had been no grant of a tenancy and the daughter applied to strike out the claim. A district judge refused that application. The daughter's appeal against that order was dismissed. The Court pof Appeal refused top grant permission for a second appeal. The judge had decided that the claim should go for trial in the normal way and the proposed appeal raised no important issue of principle or practice.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2011] July Legal Action p16
For back-copies of articles in this series, click here.

A less than satisfactory state of play
(commentary on cases about Tenancy Deposits)
J. Driscoll
[2011] 1129 Estates Gazette p87

Gypsy and traveller law update: Part 1
C. Johnson, A. Murdoch and M Willers
[2011] July Legal Action p16

 

Housing Law Events

Autumn 2011

21 September 2011
Tenancy Agreements Conference 2011
A Chartered Institute of Housing event in London
For the details, click here.

21 September 2011
Homelessness & Allocations
A Housing Law Practitioners meeting in London
For the details, click here.

23 September 2011
Public Law and Housing
A Legal Action Group Training Event in London
For the details, click here.

29 September 2011
Preventing Homelessness and Helping Homeowners at Risk National Conference 2011
A Lime Legal Event in London
For the details, click here.

5 October 2011
Social Housing Allocations Conference
A Lime Legal Event in London
For the details, click here.

13 October 2011
Unlawful Eviction: What to Look for and What's the Damage?
A Garden Court free evening seminar in London
For the details, click here.

10 November 2011
Disrepair: Penetration, Infestation and Hibernation
A Garden Court free evening seminar in London
For the details, click here.

16 November 2011
Housing Law Update
A Housing Law Practitioners meeting in London
For the details, click here.

1 December 2011
Residential Landlord & Tenant Update 2011
A Professional Conferences event 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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