Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 231 - 22 August 2011

Monday 22 August 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

Housing and anti-social behaviour: on 15 August 2011 the Housing Minister (Grant Shapps MP) wrote to all major social landlords suggesting that the current discretionary grounds for possession against tenants of social housing could be enlarged to cover anti-social behaviour taking place outside the locality of a tenant's home. For a copy of the letter, click here. The suggestion is put forward alongside proposals for a mandatory ground for possession which are already out for consultation. In light of the new proposal, the overall deadline for responses has been put back to 7 November 2011. For more details on that consultation, click here.

Homelessness prevention: the latest statistics on homelessness prevention activity in England (otherwise than under the homelessness provisions of Housing Act 1996 Part 7) were released on 18 August 2011 and indicate that there were 188,000 cases of homelessness prevention or relief during 2010/2011 - an increase of 14% on the previous year. For the full statistical report, click here.

Tenants in debt: research commissioned for the charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) by the Financial Inclusion Centre has identified 2.9 million tenants as being in rent arrears or struggling to pay their rents. Private sector tenants owed an average of £18,733 in unsecured debts. Those renting from a housing association or council owed an average of £14,239 and £12,612 respectively. For more details of the survey results, click here.

Tenancy deposits: August is the liveliest month for tenancy deposit disputes as students' fixed-term tenancies end. MyDeposits, a tenancy deposit protection scheme, surveyed nearly 700 landlords and agents as to the main reasons why they withhold deposit money at the end of a tenancy. Of those who did keep some of the deposit, 78% reported the most common reason was to pay for cleaning after the tenant had left. Unpaid rent was also a major cause for withholding the deposit. For a summary of the survey results, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Bury MBC v Secretary of State for Communities
[2011] EWHC 2192 (Admin)
12 August 2011

In March 2010 Mr Entwhistle brought a structure onto agricultural land he owned. It arrived by lorry and trailer in two parts and was bolted together on the land. He then lived in it. The council issued a planning enforcement notice. Mr Entwhistle claimed the structure was a caravan that he occupied in order to undertake building works in which he was engaged and that there was no breach of planning controls. On appeal, a planning inspector agreed with him. The council appealed against that decision to the High Court. The judge held that the inspector's decision had to be quashed. There had been no real evidential basis for the finding that the structure was a caravan and the burden of proving that it was a caravan had been on Mr Entwhistle. For the judgment, click here.

Santander UK PLC v Gallagher
[2011] ScotSC 31
26 July 2011

This is a Scottish case about service of notices on borrowers. The bank wanted to serve a calling-up notice in respect of a secured loan. The relevant statute required "delivery to the person on whom it is desired to be served". The notice was posted through the door of the property. The judge held that that was not valid service. The statute required personal service. The bank could not rely on rules of court about service of documents because the calling-up notice was not a document served in proceedings. For the judgment, click here.

Harrison & Ors v Shepherd Homes Ltd & Ors
[2011] EWHC 1811 (TCC)
11 July 2011

This was a claim by homeowners against the builder of their houses. The homes had been built of foundations which were not supported by adequate piling. The owners claimed that the homes would have to be demolished and rebuilt, with the owners decanted while the work was carried out. The judge rejected that claim but awarded considerable damages under the Defective Premises Act 1972 in relation to diminution in value and other loss suffered. For the judgment, click here.

Epsom & Ewell BC v Ciesco and Ciesco
6 June 2011

Joint landlords Mr Ciesco and his sister Ms Ciesco, the owners of 40 Miles Road, Epsom pleaded guilty Redhill Magistrates Court to multiple offences under the Housing Act 2004 in respect of poor and dangerous conditions in the house endangering the lives of tenants. The offences related to failure to register an HMO and breach of an emergency prohibition order Mr Ciesco was fined £3,300 for breach of s32 Housing Act 2004 and a further £10,000 for breach of s72 Housing Act 2004. Ms Ciesco was fined £3,300 for breach of s32 Housing Act 2004 and £5,000 for breach of s72 Housing Act 2004. They were both also ordered to pay £1,121 towards the costs of the prosecution and £15 each towards a victims' surcharge. For more details, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2011] August Legal Action p36
For back-copies of articles in this series, click here.

Time to Focus
(Housing associations and Freedom of Information)
K. Whitfield and J. Knox
[2011] Inside Housing 19 August issue p32
For a copy of this article, click here.

Housing Law Events

Autumn 2011

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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