Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 280 – 17 September 2012

Monday 17 September 2012

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The Latest Housing Law News

Housing need: on 12 September 2012 an alliance of housing organizations called Housing Voice launched a new report concluding that current and previous governments have failed to take responsibility for meeting the housing needs of those who are most in need. For a copy of the report, To have or have not: taking responsibility for tomorrow's affordable homes, click here.

Housing and legal aid: on 10 September 2012 the Legal Services Commission (LSC) re-opened the opportunity for legal advisers to qualify to obtain contracts in Housing & Debt work from April 2013. Providers who missed-out on the first round of qualification in May 2012 now have a final chance to submit a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire by 12 noon on 28 September 2012. Those suppliers who have already passed the earlier PQQ round (or who qualify under the new one) can now tender for the April 2013 contracts following the launch of the tender process by the LSC on 14 September 2012 and they have until 12 noon on 22 October 2012 to submit their tenders. For the details, click here.

Housing and human rights: last week, the Ministry of Justice published Responding to human rights judgments - a report to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights containing the Government's response to human rights judgments given in 2011-2012. In the section dealing with judgments relating to possession claims and human rights (page 35), the Government asserts that in the light of the Supreme Court judgments in Pinnock and Powell, no further measures are necessary to comply with the judgments of the European Court in McCann v UK and Kay v UK. For a copy of the report, click here.

Houses in multiple occupation: new regulations came into force in England on 10 September 2012 designed to make it easier for landlords and their agents to renew licences to operate HMOs. For the new regulations, click here. For a memorandum explaining them, click here.

Home buying: on 13 September 2012 the Office of Fair Trading published guidance to help estate agents and others involved in home sales understand their responsibilities under consumer and business protection regulations. For a copy of the guidance, click here. The OFT has said that all estate agents must be registered with either the Property Ombudsman (or 01722 333306) or with Ombudsman Services: Property (or 01925 530270).

Challenge to new squatting law: a long-term squatter in Wales has indicated that she will launch a legal challenge to the new statutory offence which came into force on 1 September 2012 if it is applied to her. For the details, click here.

Housing benefit delays: the September 2012 issue of Housing Benefit Direct reports that in the fourth quarter of 2011/12 local authorities took an average of 24 days to process new claims, compared with 23 in the previous quarter, and 22 days in the fourth quarter of 2010/11. For a copy of the September issue, click here.

Housing standards: last week the National Assembly for Wales' Public Accounts Committee published a report on progress in delivering the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. It found that only 60% of social housing in Wales achieved the standard and recommended independent verification of compliance with the standard. For a copy of the report, click here.

Housing law in Northern Ireland: the Housing Rights Service has launched Housing Law in Practice NI - a unique on-line publication containing comprehensive information on Northern Ireland housing law designed for housing practitioners. To trial it free for 10 days, 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.

R (Chen) v Home Secretary [2012] EWHC 2351 (Admin)
14 September 2012
The claimant was a failed asylum seeker with a dependent child. She had a relationship with a Mr. Wu, who was the father of her child but to whom she was not married. The Home Office provided accommodation for her and her child but would not accommodate Mr. Wu because the couple had not lived together for "two out of three years" as required by regulation 2(4) of the Asylum Support Regulations 2000. She sought judicial review of the rule on the basis that it amounted to an unlawful interference with her right to family life. The High Court dismissed the claim. There had been no unlawful interference with the right to family life contrary to Article 8 Human Rights Act 1998 Schedule 1 and no unlawful discrimination contrary to Article 14. For the judgment, click here.

Fairhold Mercury Ltd v Merryfield RTM Co Ltd [2012] UKUT 311 (LC)
10 September 2012

Merryfield was established by leaseholders to exercise their collective right to take over the management their homes. Two statutory notices were served by Merryfield on the freeholders, Fairhold. One was withdrawn and the other lapsed. Fairhold applied for an order for payment of its costs of dealing with the notices. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) refused the application, relying on a point that Merryfield itself had not taken. The Upper Tribunal held that the LVT decision was contrary to natural justice and wrong. It awarded Fairhold the costs as claimed. For the judgment, click here.

Carey-Morgan v Trustees of the Sloane Stanley Estate [2012] EWCA Civ 1181
3 September 2012

Long leaseholders exercised their right to acquire the freehold of their homes and the buildings containing them. At issue was the price to be paid. That had been considered by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). The leaseholders appealed to the Court of Appeal on two aspects of the calculation of the price: (1) 'hope value' in relation to flats let on leases with unexpired terms of less than 80 years and where the leases were held by tenants who were not tenants participating in the purchase; and (2) the deferment rate to be used in valuing the freehold interest in relation to flats subject to leases with unexpired terms of less than 5 years. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and gave guidance, in particular as to the calculation of deferment rates. For the judgment, click here.

R (Gally) v Home Secretary [2012] EWHC 2415 (Admin)
14 September 2012

The claimant was being held in detention by the immigration authorities. He sought "section 4" support with subsistence and accommodation so that he could obtain bail. However, paragraphs 5(a) and 1(1)(l) of Schedule 3 to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 200 provide that if someone has the nationality of an EEA state other than the United Kingdom, then he is not eligible for support or assistance under section 4(1)(c) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The Home Secretary refused support on the basis that the claimant was French. The high court allowed a judicial review of that decision because in other proceedings involving the same claimant the Home Secretary was asserting that there was no conclusive evidence that the claimant was French.

Bower Terrace Student Accommodation and Herbal Hills Studios Ltd v Space Student Living Ltd [2012] EWHC 2206 (Ch)
27 July 2012

The two claimant companies each owned blocks of accommodation let to students. Each owed significant sums to a bank. The bank appointed receivers to take over management of the blocks and obtain the rental income. The defendant, Space, claimed that it had been granted leases to operate the buildings which pre-dated the charges held by the bank and it declined to hand over management of them to the receivers. The High Court was not satisfied that Space had been granted leases of the blocks. The true position was more likely to be that it had simply been a managing agent for the companies. An injunction was granted enabling the receivers to carry out their functions pending any future trial. For the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Recent developments in housing law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2012] August Legal Action 23
For back issues of articles in this series, click here.

Tread with caution
(commentary on Globa v Ukraine)
L. Davies
[2012] 14 September Inside Housing 40
For a copy of the article, click here.

We've got a file on you
(identifying high income social tenants)
L. James
[2012] 14 September Inside Housing 40
For a copy of the article, click here.

Trading places
(tenancy deposits on change of landlord)
C. Kus
[2012] September/October Adviser 16

Court desk advice and tactics
D. Patel
[2012] September/October Adviser 20

Home page
(discussion of a county court case on tenancy deposits)
E. Lawrence
[2012] September/October Adviser 24

Increased protection for Scottish secure tenants
A. McIntosh
[2012] September/October Adviser 36

Lettings agents need more effective regulation
V. Alakeson
Guardian Housing Network
For a copy of the article, click here.

Home Truths
(possession claims for unpaid service charges)
T.Parker
[2012] 13 September Law Society's Gazette.
For a copy of the article, click here.

Housing Law Events

This week

19 September 2012
Homelessness Update
An evening meeting in London of HLPA
For the details, click here.

20 September 2012
Succession, Mutual Exchange & the Localism Act
An evening meeting in London of SHLA
For the details, click here.

Autumn 2012

25 September 2012
Localism Act: an update for housing practitioners
A LAG training event in London
For the details, click here.

27 September 2012
Housing Mental Capacity and Disability Discrimination
An evening seminar at Garden Court Chambers
For the details, click here.

28 September 2012
Social Housing Allocation
A Lime Legal Conference in London
For the details, click here.

28 September 2012
Current & Future Issues in Housing Law
A Conference in Bristol
For the details, click here.

17 October 2012
How to quantify damages in disrepair cases
An evening seminar in London for HLPA members
For the details, click here.

18 October 2012
Using Mediation to Resolve Housing Disputes
An evening seminar at Garden Court Chambers
For the details, click here.

31 October 2012
Tackling tenancy fraud
A Conference in London
For the details, click here.

1 November 2012
On the Streets
Garden Court Chambers Film Festival
For details, click here.

16 November 2012
SHLA Annual Conference
The 7th Annual Conference of SHLA in London
For the details, click here.

21 November 2012
Housing Law Update
An evening meeting in London of HLPA
For the details, click here.

21-22 November 2012
New Approaches to Allocations, Lettings & Homelessness Conference 2012
A two-day Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Nottingham
For the details, click here.

22 November 2012
Gypsies and travellers: An Update
An evening seminar at Garden Court Chambers
For the details, click here.

27 November 2012
Housing Allocations and Homelessness: The Practitioner Seminar Series 2012
A Jordans Housing seminar in Leeds
Includes a free copy of the forthcoming Housing Allocation and Homelessness (3rd edition) by Jan Luba QC and Liz Davies
For the details, click here.

28 November 2012
Housing Allocations and Homelessness: The Practitioner Seminar Series 2012
A Jordans Housing seminar in Manchester
Includes a free copy of the forthcoming Housing Allocation and Homelessness (3rd edition) by Jan Luba QC and Liz Davies
For the details, click here.

29 November 2012
Housing Allocations and Homelessness: The Practitioner Seminar Series 2012
A Jordans Housing seminar in Birmingham
Includes a free copy of the forthcoming Housing Allocation and Homelessness (3rd edition) by Jan Luba QC and Liz Davies
For the details, click here.

30 November 2012
Housing Allocations and Homelessness: The Practitioner Seminar Series 2012
A Jordans Housing seminar in London
Includes a free copy of the forthcoming Housing Allocation and Homelessness (3rd edition) by Jan Luba QC and Liz Davies
For the details, click here.

5 December 2012
After the possession order: set aside or appeal?
An evening seminar in London for HLPA members
For the details, click here.

11 December 2012
Housing Law Conference
Annual conference of HLPA in London
For the details, click here.

Garden Court Chambers Film Festival

Garden Court Chambers is delighted to present a series of six thought-provoking films this autumn. Each film explores different human rights issues connected with our work. Each film screening will be followed by a panel discussion, films will be showing from Friday 5 October until Friday 9 November, click here for more information.

 

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