Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 233 – 5 September 2011

Monday 5 September 2011

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The Latest Housing Law News

New leaflets for landlords and tenants: on 3 September 2011 the UK Government published three new factsheets on the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in England. They are:

  • Dos and Don'ts factsheet for landlords giving advice on securing a suitable letting agent, the need for written agreements and inventories, and protecting tenant's deposits. For a copy, click here.
  • Dos and Don'ts factsheet for tenants on the legal requirements of renting, how to deal with disputes and what to expect from landlords. For a copy, click here.
  • Gaining possession factsheet to help landlords decide which route to follow when they need to takeback their property, how much notice they must give the tenant and guidance on the procedures which can be used to help speed up the process. For a copy, click here.

Letting agents: on 3 September 2011 a new agent-led initiative was launched intended to protect consumers by enabling them to select a letting agent they can rely upon. Called SAFEagent the scheme includes only those agents in membership of one of the organisations regulating letting agent quality and conduct. For more details, click here.

Sufficient housing for all?: on 30 August 2011 the National Housing Federation published the Housing market analysis (July 2012) that it had commissioned from Oxford Economics. It paints a bleak picture of diminished housing supply, a fall in owner-occupation and increased rents in the private rented sector. For the NHF summary, click here. For the full report, click here. For the Housing Minister's response, click here.

All homeless in priority need?: local authorities in Scotland are working towards the December 2012 target of all homeless applicants being accepted as having 'priority need'. The latest statistics from the Scottish Executive on the operation of the Homeless Persons legislation in Scotland for 2010-11 published on 30 August 2011 already show that single people aged between 26 and retirement age have become the largest priority need group. For the statistics, click here.

Affordable Rent tenancies: a ministerial statement has been issued in response to media reporting that families will be priced out of social housing by new affordable rent tenancies. For the statement, click here.

Training for tenants: on 31 August 2011 the Housing Minister announced that, following a tendering exercise, £535,000 would be awarded to the charity National Communities Resource Centre to undertake a programme of training for tenants taking part in the new arrangements for tenants' panels in social housing in England. For the announcement, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

R v Malcolm
[2011] EWCA Crim 2069, [2011] All ER (D) 4 (Sept)
1 September 2011

Mr Malcolm had been a private sector tenant. When he moved out, he removed fixtures and fittings belonging to the landlord. He was charged with theft. He said that he had been authorised by the letting agent to take some furniture as security to ensure the return of his deposit. The prosecution did not propose to call any staff of the letting agency to give evidence but at the direction of the judge two staff from the agency were called and they gave evidence. Mr Malcolm was convicted by the jury and sentenced to 21 months imprisonment. The Court of Appeal allowed his appeal. The judge's intervention in the conduct of the prosecution may have given the impression of bias.

Flynn v Basildon DC
[2011] EWHC (QBD) (IHQ/11/0611)
31 August 2011

The claimant was a 72-year-old resident of a site at Dale Farm. She lived in her mobile home on a plot that she owned but she had no planning permission to occupy the land. The council proposed to carry out an eviction to enforce the planning regime. The claimant contended that the decision infringed her human rights given the risk to her already poor health that displacement would entail. She brought a claim for breach of the Human Rights Act 1998 and sought an interim injunction to prevent the eviction. The High Court refused the injunction but granted a temporary stay for 7 days to allow the council to review the latest medical evidence about the claimant.

Barron v HMRC
[2011] UKFTT 482(TC)
15 July 2011

Miss Barron was a private landlord. In 2009 a tenant left one of her properties prematurely and had seriously damaged the premises. She used all her savings and ran up debts on her credit cards to fund emergency repair works so as to avoid further damage over the winter of 2009/10 and to pay the mortgage on the property. As a result, she was late paying her tax for 2008/09 and HMRC imposed a £54 penalty for late-payment. The Tribunal allowed an appeal. It decided that Miss Barron had established a 'reasonable excuse' for late payment. 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.

Weather any storms
(Social landlords and the Human Rights Act)
N. Morah
[2011] 2 September Inside Housing p28
To read the article, click here.

For whom is social housing?
A. Arden and C. Hunter
[2011] 14 Journal of Housing Law p95

Setting aside a social housing possession order
D. Cowan
[2011] 14 Journal of Housing Law p109

Challenges from renewable energy in housing
S. Cirell
[2011] 14 Journal of Housing Law p109

Housing Law Events

Autumn 2011

15 September 2011
Homelessness & Allocations
A Social Housing Law Association meeting in London
For the details, click here.

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

18 October 2011
Current Issues in Housing Law
A Garden Court free evening seminar by Jan Luba QC in Leicester
For the details, Email.

10 November 2011
Disrepair: Penetration, Infestation and Hibernation
A Garden Court 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.

14 December 2011
Housing Law Conference
Annual Conference of the Housing law Practitioners Association 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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