Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 270 – 2 July 2012

Monday 2 July 2012

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The Latest Housing Law News

Allocating social housing: on 29 June 2012 the UK Government issued new statutory guidance to local authorities in England about social housing allocation. For a copy of the guidance, which replaces all previous such statutory guidance, click here. The new guidance follows a consultation exercise on a draft. For a copy of the summary of responses received, click here. The accompanying ministerial announcement emphasises the increased priority that the Government expects will be given to military and ex-services personnel. For that announcement, click here. New statutory instruments to protect the position of those applicants with ties to the military will be published 'as soon as possible'.

Mortgage Default: local councils and housing associations dealing with customers who have mortgage debts and face possible or actual possession proceedings can make referrals to the Mortgage Debt Advice scheme offered by the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS). For more details, click here. The scheme has just produced a new leaflet that agencies making referrals can give to the customers they are referring. The leaflet is available either direct from NHAS or via the KnowledgeHub's Mortgage Rescue Scheme internet group. For more details of that, click here.

Housing for Migrants: the Chartered Institute of Housing has published Housing and migration: A UK guide to issues and solutions based on the work of the Housing and Migration network For a copy, click here.

Mobile Homes: on 29 June 2012 the Second Reading of Lord Avebury's Caravan Sites Bill took place in the House of Lords. The Bill would impose a duty on local authorities in England to provide, or facilitate the provision of, caravan sites for gypsies and other travellers. For the debate, click here. The Bill may now move to Committee Stage. It is opposed by the Government on the grounds that it is unnecessary.

Regulating Private Landlords: on 25 June 2012 Caroline Lucas MP secured a first reading for her Landlord Accreditation Bill. The Private Member's Bill would require all local authorities to operate landlord accreditation schemes insisting on minimum standards in their areas. To monitor the progress of the Bill, click here.

Planning permission for more homes: the Local Housing Delivery Group has produced two new reports to help local authorities and developers meet the challenge of providing sufficient new homes. The first, Viability Testing Local Plans - Advice for planning practitioners, is a resource for local authorities to help ensure that local plans are viable and deliverable. The second, A Review of Local Standards for the Delivery of New Homes, concludes that there is significant scope for simplification of the standards regime, and recommends an urgent Government-backed review with consolidation of the existing local housing standards. For the details, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

Fuller digests of most of the cases noted each week in this Bulletin appear in an online indexed and searchable database edited by Jan Luba QC and called the Case Law Digest. For details of that service, click here.

Daejan Properties Ltd v Campbell [2012] EWCA Civ 875
19 June 2012

A tenant occupied a maisonette on the top floor of a converted house. The lease contained a landlord's repairing covenant for the outside of the "premises" and a corresponding obligation to pay service charges. "Premises" was defined as only the exterior of the maisonette. The High Court allowed an application by the landlord for a declaration that the "premises" should be treated as applying to the whole house on the basis that that is what the parties must be taken to have meant (see Housing Law Bulletin No.241). That would enable it to recover a proportion of the costs of repair of the whole building. The Court of Appeal has granted the tenant permission to appeal against that ruling.

Islington LBC v Jones and others [2012] EWHC 1537 (QB)
1 June 2012

The defendants were protestors who established an encampment on Finsbury Square in the council's area. They had no right to do so but insisted on their right to maintain a peaceful demonstration. The council's claim for possession of the land and for injunctions to require the occupiers to keep off the square was resisted by reliance on the human rights of the defendants. The High Court held that the balance overwhelmingly favoured the council as it was lawfully entitled to immediate possession, a significant period of occupation had been tolerated and there was no definite time the occupation would otherwise end. Possession orders and injunctions were granted.

Camden LBC v Alba Lopez
7 June 2012

The defendant was prosecuted for failing to apply for an HMO licence in respect of each of two flats, and management offences relating to the lack of fire precautions and shortcomings with respect to the wiring. She pleaded guilty to the failure to licence each flat in multiple occupation and to failure to provide adequate structural fire precautions in one flat. Offences of failing to install structural fire precautions in the other flat and of failure to install suitable fire detection and alarm systems in both were taken into consideration. Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court fined her a total of £2000 and she was ordered to pay £1000 towards the Council's costs plus £15 victim support payment. For more details, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Recent developments in housing law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2012] June Legal Action p33
For back issues of articles in this series, click here.

In a fix?
(Flexible tenancy arrangements for councils)
J. Holbrook
[2012] 162 New Law Journal Issue 7520
For a copy of the article, click here.

Don't bank on it
(The new tenancy deposit arrangements)
S. Dawe
[2012] Property Law Journal Issue 292

Staying, suspending or setting aside possession warrants
D. Malone and J. Luba
[2012] June Legal Action p29

Waiting game
(right to buy for assured shorthold tenants of social housing)
P. Hayes
[2012] 29 June Inside Housing p31

Housing Law Events (Summer 2012)

18 July 2012
Outside the Housing Acts: No recourse and Community Care
An evening meeting in London of HLPA
For the details, click here.



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