Housing Law Bulletin - Issue 330 - 28 October

Monday 28 October 2013

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THIS WEEK: Luba in Leicester. On Wednesday 30 October 2013 at 5pm Jan Luba QC of Garden Court Chambers is leading a free evening seminar in Leicester for lawyers and legal advisers from across the Midlands. The seminar entitled Housing Law: the key current issues on Allocations, Homelessness and Social Housing Possession Cases will be held on Leicester University campus. To register for a free place and for venue details, email Holly Proctor at hollyp@gclaw.co.uk.

Housing Law News

Housing in Parliament (1): the Immigration Bill, which contains provisions addressing private renting, had its second reading in the House of Commons on 22 October 2013. The Home Secretary said that the Bill gives "necessary powers to deal with rogue landlords who rent homes to illegal migrants". To read the debate, click here. The Bill has now moved to its committee stage. Tomorrow afternoon (29 October 2013) the National Landlords Association, Residential Landlords Association and UK Association of Lettings Agents will be giving evidence to the committee on the Bill. To watch the evidence session, click here.

Housing in Parliament (2): the Anti-social Behaviour Bill will have its second reading in the House of Lords tomorrow (29 October 2013). For a copy of the current version of the Bill, click here. For an article commenting on the housing-related provisions of the Bill, click here.

Housing in Parliament (3): Sir Alan Meale MP's Private Landlords and Letting and Managing Agents (Regulation) Bill had its Commons Second Reading on 25 October 2013. The Bill seeks: to establish a mandatory national register of private landlords; to introduce regulation of private sector letting agents and managing agents; to establish a body to administer the national register and to monitor compliance with regulations applying to letting agents and managing agents; and to require all tenancy agreements entered into with private landlords to take the form of written agreements. For a copy of the Bill, click here. To watch the Second Reading debate, click here.

Social Housing Rent Arrears: the Grand Union Housing Group has published a paper on its experience of the first six months of the 'bedroom tax'. For a copy, click here. A report on the Bedroom Tax in Scotland was published by the Scottish Parliament on 19 October 2013. For a copy, click here. On 17 October 2013 the Welsh Affairs Committee published a report indicating that the UK Government should carefully monitor the impact of housing benefit changes. For a copy, click here. A new research report commissioned by the social housing regulator for Scotland has set out the early impacts of welfare reforms on rent arrears across the sector. For a copy, click here. The Chartered Institute of Housing has published a report showing that half of those subject to the total welfare benefit cap are now being paid Discretionary Housing Payments. For a copy, click here.

Private Renting: the UK Government has published a draft statutory instrument setting out the arrangements for securing its approval of any new redress scheme for complaints in respect of letting and managing agents in England. The order requires the approval of both Houses of Parliament. For a copy of the draft, click here.

Social Housing Allocation: the UK Government is undertaking a consultation in England on new guidance intended to encourage social landlords to impose local residence requirements on admission to social housing waiting lists. For a copy of the response submitted by the Housing Law Practitioners' Association, click here. The deadline for submissions is 22 November 2013. For the consultation paper, click here.

Regulating social landlords: the social housing regulator for England has published a summary of the responses made to its proposed changes to the regulatory framework that applied to social landlords. For a copy, click here.

Domestic Violence & Housing: a new report from Community Housing Cymru on domestic abuse and housing in Wales aims to give an overview of the housing needs of people made vulnerable or homeless by domestic abuse. For a copy, click here.

Social Housing Complaints: the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman has produced a special thematic annual report on Housing complaints for 2012-2013. The report includes an outline of the work of the Complaints Standards Authority in developing a standardised model complaints handling procedure for registered social landlords, which is now in place across the sector. For a copy, click here.

Updates on Housing Law: for daily housing law news and updates follow the editor of this Bulletin (Jan Luba QC) on Twitter @JanLubaQC

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 (Clulow) v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions [2013] EWHC 3241 (Admin)
24 October 2013

The claimant accepted the tenancy of an unfurnished council house. She applied to the social fund for a discretionary grant to help pay for a bed, cooker, washing machine, fridge, etc. She did not qualify because she was receiving contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Had she not paid National Insurance (NI) contributions she would have been in receipt of income-related ESA which did qualify. She claimed that this was unlawful discrimination contrary to Article 14 read with Article 8 of Human Rights Act 1998 schedule 1. The High Court dismissed a judicial review claim. The discrimination was not within Article 14 because it was not on grounds of 'property' or 'other status'. Even if it had been, the discrimination has been justified. For the judgment, click here.

Barnet LBC v David Dahan
22 October 2013

The defendant was a private landlord who undertook unauthorised modifications to two of his houses. At one, he had started to build an extension which went beyond the size approved by planning permission. A planning enforcement notice was issued ordering him to modify the extension or demolish it. But an inspection found the extension had been finished and converted into flats. The other house had been divided into 11 flats without planning permission. An enforcement notice ordered him to remove the kitchen areas from all but one room and showers and toilets from all but two rooms, but he failed to do so. Both properties were rented out. The defendant pleaded guilty to non-compliance with both notices and was fined £2000 in respect of each with £7000 costs. Harrow Crown Court also ordered a payment of £75,600 in respect of the profit made by the illegal renting-out of the properties. For details of the prosecution, click here.

Lambrou v Secretary of State for Communities [2013] EWHC 325 (Admin)
4 October 2013
The claimant converted a single house into 10 self-contained flats without planning permission. The local council (Haringey LBC) took enforcement action including, in 2011, the service of an enforcement notice. The claimant appealed from that notice to a planning inspector but the notice was upheld. The claimant then appealed to the High Court on the basis that the work had been completed more than four years before issue of the notice and that enforcement was therefore barred. The council relied on the issue of an earlier defective notice in 2008 to demonstrate that it had acted in time. The High Court dismissed the appeal. The earlier defective notice had been "purported" action within section 171B(4)(b) of the 1990 Planning Act and thereby had extended time. The 2011 notice was upheld.

R (Raiss) v Central London County Court [2013] EWHC 3217 (Admin)
8 August 2013

In August 2010 a district judge made an order for possession. Mr Raiss appealed against it but a circuit judge dismissed his application for permission to appeal in the same month. Mr Raiss applied in the county court for the re-opening of that decision but his application was finally rejected in March 2012. The order was executed and the claimant evicted. He applied for a judicial review of the county court orders. A renewed application for permission to seek a judicial review was refused. The claim was out of time and, in any event, did not demonstrate the exceptional circumstances required to secure a review of a refusal of permission to appeal in the county court.

Housing Law Articles

Recent developments in housing law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2013] October Legal Action 31
For back issues of articles in this series, click here.
To read the current article, click here (LAG subscribers only).

The role of Article 8 in residential possession claims made by individuals and companies
J. Luba
[2013] 17 Landlord & Tenant Review 170

Medical Evidence in Homelessness Cases
C. Hunter et al
[2013] October Legal Action 28

Giving a helping hand (legal aid in housing cases)
R. Conway
[2013] Inside Housing 18 October
To read the article, click here.

Housing Law Books

Housing Allocation and Homelessness (Third Edition) by Liz Davies and Jan Luba QC. For information on how to get the book, click here.

Housing Law Events

This Week

Gypsy and Traveller Law Update
29 October 2013
A LAG training event in Birmingham (speakers include Marc Willers)
For more details, click here.

Housing Law: the key current issues on Allocations, Homelessness and Social Housing Possession Cases
30 October 2013
A Garden Court evening seminar in Leicester (speaker Jan Luba QC)
For more details, see Stop Press (above)

Next Week

What's the use of Article 8?
7 November 2013
A Garden Court Chambers evening seminar for advisers
For more details, click here.

Later this Autumn

Allocations, lettings and homelessness
19-20 November 2013
A Chartered Institute of Housing conference (speakers include Liz Davies)
For more details, click here.

Housing law update
20 November 2013
A HLPA Members evening seminar
For more details, click here

ASB & Social Housing Conference
22 November 2013
A Lime Legal conference in London (speakers include Jan Luba QC)
For more details, click here.

Housing & Residential Property Mediation Conference
26 November 2013
A dispute resolution conference in London
For more details, click here.

Annual Housing Law Conference
10 December 2013
A HLPA conference in London, with Jan Luba QC and Beatrice Prevatt speaking.
For more details, click here.

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