Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 230 - 15 August 2011

Monday 15 August 2011

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*** This week's Stop Press***

On Friday of this week (19 August 2011) Jan Luba QC will be delivering a free lunchtime seminar in Oxford on Current Issues in Housing Law with special reference to the housing law changes presently before Parliament. All are welcome to attend. For venue and other details Email: CGough@turpinmiller.co.uk

The Latest Housing Law News

New "affordable rent" tenancies: the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) and the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) have issued more guidance to local councils and housing associations that may be thinking of taking-up new opportunities to let social housing at up to 80% of market rents. The new guidance is particularly directed at those landlords seeking to develop social housing without HCA funding or through "section 106" agreements. For a copy of the guidance, click here.

Homeowners and mortgage arrears: the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) update repossession activity by their members and affirm their projection of 40,000 repossessions this year. For those figures, click here. The official court statistics, released on 11 August 2011, indicate that 14,075 possession orders against homeowners were made by the county courts in April - June 2011. For the full statistics, click here. In response to this data, the UK Government called on homeowners in difficulties to seek early advice. For that statement, click here.

Housing and the armed forces: on 5 August 2011 the Housing Minister issued a statement re-iterating the UK Government's commitment to helping ex-forces personnel with their housing needs. For a copy of the statement, click here. For details of the Military Covenant Housing Summit held on 16 May 2011, at which current policy was outlined, click here.

Rentcharges: last week the Department for Communities and Local Government issued a range of guidance materials aimed at house owners in England who are affected by a 'rentcharge' (also known as a 'chief rent') and those who pay a share of service charges for leasehold houses. For a description of the issues and a list of the recent materials, click here.

Rent arrears and possession proceedings: the official court statistics, released on 11 August 2011, indicate that the number of possession claims brought by landlords - the majority based on arrears of rent - continue to grow. In the quarter April - June 2011 some 34,946 claims were issued and almost 24,000 possession orders were made by the county courts. For the full statistics, click here.

Housing benefit and supported housing: in July 2011 the DWP announced proposed new arrangements for Housing Benefit in respect of accommodation with on-site support (sometimes called "exempt" accommodation). For a copy of the consultation paper, click here. Comments are sought by 9 October 2011.

Right to Buy in Wales: a second Commencement Order made under the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 brought section 309 (former right to buy and other flats: equity share purchases) into force on 26 July 2011 for the purpose of enabling the Welsh Ministers to make regulations. The Order also brings sections 308 and 309 (former right to buy and other flats: service charge loans) fully into force in relation to Wales on 19 August 2011.For the order, click here. For the consequential regulations on service charge loans, click here. For the consequential regulations on equitable interests, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

R(SL) v Westminster CC [2011] EWCA Civ 954
10 August 2011

The claimant was (at date of trial) a failed asylum seeker with a history of mental health problems. He sought accommodation from the council under National Assistance Act 1948 section 21. The council reached a decision that the only support he needed was a regular weekly meeting with a social worker and that his other needs could be met by the NHS. The High Court dismissed a claim for judicial review of that decision. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal. The judge had underestimated the council's assessment of the claimant's needs for care and attention because the social worker was acting, in effect, as the claimant's care co-ordinator. Further, it was plain that reasonable alternative provision was required. It would be absurd to provide a programme of assistance and support through a care co-ordinator without also providing the obviously necessary basis of stable accommodation. For the judgment, click here.

West Kent Housing Association v Haycraft [2011] EWCA Civ 992
22 July 2011

The association granted an assured shorthold 'starter' tenancy to Mr Haycraft. Following an allegation of anti-social behaviour, it decided at a review hearing in January 2010 that the tenancy should be terminated and it gave notice seeking possession under Housing Act 1988 section 21. It then sought possession. A district judge made a possession order (pre-Pinnock). Mr Haycraft appealed, contending that there had been a public law irregularity in the appeal process and that, on the facts, eviction would not be proportionate. The circuit judge dismissed the appeal. The Court of Appeal gave permission for a second appeal on the proportionality point. The case was just about arguable on the basis that the judge should have taken into account :(1) Mr Haycraft's good conduct of the tenancy since the allegation was made; and (2) the risk that he might be found to have become homeless intentionally if evicted.

Manchester CC v Javaid
6 July 2011

In Manchester Magistrates Court, Mohammed Javaid, of Winchester Road, Hale, pleaded guilty to 20 offences relating to defective private rented property he let at Apollo Lodge, Hyde Road, Ardwick. Local authority environmental health inspectors had discovered a serious fire risk and numerous other defects. Conditions were so bad that an emergency prohibition order was served after the first inspection. The landlord was fined £33,750 and ordered to pay costs of £8,500. For further details, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2011] August Legal Action p40
For back-copies of articles in this series, click here.

Off the Wall
(Repairs law)
P. Barrett and J. del Ceno
[2011] 155 Solicitors Journal No.31 p12
For a copy of this article, click here.

Equality Enabled
(Housing and the Equality Act 2010 - part 2)
J. Shepherd and R. Latham
[2011] 155 Solicitors Journal No.31 p14
For a copy of this article, click here.

Off the debt hook
(Rent arrears and bankruptcy)
H. Tucker
[2011] Inside Housing 5 August issue
For a copy of this article, click here.

On new terms
(Flexible secure tenancies)
H. Tucker
[2011] Inside Housing 12 August issue
For a copy of this article, click here.

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 Association 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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