Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 232 - 30 August 2011

Tuesday 30 August 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

Selling-off social housing: on 25 August 2011 the Housing Minister launched a consultation exercise on proposals to give local councils in England greater flexibility over sales (and other disposals) of social housing and over the way in which the sums received can be spent. In particular, it is proposed that there be a broader consent to sell under Housing Act 1985 section 32. For the announcement, click here. For the consultation paper, click here. Responses are invited by 17 November 2011.

Affordable rent tenancies in social housing: on 21 August 2011 the social landlord Affinity Sutton published an analysis of new research by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research (CCHPR) which shows that charging a rent between social and market rent could help some families which are let new housing association homes on affordable rent tenancies. However, those dependent on benefits and some working families would still find this new rent model unaffordable. It would be particularly unaffordable for families with three or more children. In four out of five local authority areas a family on benefits would fall foul of the £26K benefit cap if renting at 80% of market rate. For a copy of the report, click here.

Private Landlords and Housing Benefit: on 22 August 2011, BDRC Continental published survey results indicating that, as a result of changes to the local housing allowance (LHA) form of housing benefit, one in four private landlords have already begun to look at ways to reduce the number of LHA tenants in their portfolios, and a higher proportion (32%) will do so when capping affects their lettings. Half of the landlords surveyed claimed that they will be less likely to accommodate LHA claimants as tenants in the future. For further details, click here.

Homes Afloat: about 15,000 households presently live in houseboats moored on canals and rivers. On 26 August 2011 the UK Government announced that local authorities in England were being encouraged to use the New Homes Bonus to provide more such homes through an increase in the number of residential moorings. For the announcement, click here. For the recently published guidance from British Waterways on the development of new residential mooring sites, click here.

Free guides on Housing Topics: during August the House of Commons Library has published a further set of free briefing notes on a range of housing issues including Tenants' Deposits, Squatting, and Housing Options for Ex-Service Personnel. For access to the full list and free copies, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

R(Elvington Park Ltd) v York CC
[2011] EWHC (Admin) 2213
26 August 2011

Having received complaints from local residents of noise nuisance arising from motor sports events on an airfield, the council served abatement notices on the airfield owners under section 79(1)(g) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Appeals against the notices were dismissed by the magistrates' court and later the Crown Court. The owners sought judicial review of the conduct of the appeal in the Crown Court and appealed by way of case stated against the result. The High Court rejected both cases. There had been no irregularity in the conduct of the appeal and no error in the decisions upholding the notices as valid. For the judgment, click here.

R(Bizzy B Management Ltd) v Stockton-on-Tees BC
[2011] EWHC (Admin), [2011] All ER (D) 114
23 August 2011

The claimants owned a dilapidated building in the council's area. In 2007 the council served a notice under section 79(1) of the Building Act 1984 requiring that the owners either repair or demolish the building. The owners decided not to appeal but to demolish the building. By Autumn 2010 the building had neither been repaired nor demolished and the council made a demolition order and commissioned demolition works. The owners said that they had entered into a development contract for the redevelopment of the building and sought a judicial review to stop the demolition. The High Court dismissed the claim. There had been no unlawful interference with the owners' rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 Schedule 1 Protocol 1 Article 1. The decisions to make the demolition order and carry on with the demolition had been lawfully made.

Mann Aviation Group (Engineering) Ltd v Longmint Aviation Ltd
[2011] EWHC (Ch) 2238
19 August 2011

This is a commercial case about the right to occupy aircraft hangars. It is interesting for the application in that context of principles developed in residential a landlord and tenant law about (1) the distinction between a tenancy and a licence and (2) the need for an unequivocal act on the part of the tenant for there to be a surrender of a tenancy by operation of law. For the judgment, click here.

Greening v Castelnau Mansions Ltd
[2011] UKUT 326 (LC)
15 August 2011

The company levied a service charge in respect of flats in two blocks which included the legal fees it had incurred to recover earlier unpaid service charges. A lessee challenged the company's right to recover that expense. The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) upheld the challenge. Just as in Sella House Ltd v Mears[1989] 1 EGLR 65, the lease enabled the recovery of fees paid to professionals only in respect of "administration of the building". That could not embrace legal fees. To recover legal costs the company would need to obtain a civil court costs order against the defaulting tenants. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

DH v Kirklees MBC
[2011] UKUT 301 (AAC)
26 July 2011

The claimant's marriage broke down and she and her husband divorced. She remained in the matrimonial home with the children. The claimant and her ex-husband tried to sell the home, which they both owned, but failed to find a buyer. In October 2007 she sold her share of the house to her ex-husband to clear her debts. He then granted her a tenancy and she sought housing benefit to pay the rent. The Upper Tribunal upheld the council's decision to reject the claim. Housing Benefit Regulation 9(1)(c)(i) removed entitlement to benefit where rent was payable to a former partner in respect of a home previously shared. That regulation had been lawfully made and was not incompatible with human rights. For the judgment, 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.

Blame Game
(eviction for anti-social behaviour)
Y. Dania
[2011] Inside Housing 26 August issue p28
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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