Issue 116 - 1st December 2008

Monday 1 December 2008

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The Latest Housing Law News

New Premises Closure Orders: these new orders become available from today (1 December 2008) with the commencement of the relevant provisions of the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008. For a copy of the commencement order, click here. The provisions greatly extend the scope for closing premises which are the source of anti-social behaviour and persistent nuisance. They go well beyond previous arrangements to tackle "crack houses". For the copy of the Home Office guidance on use of the new powers, click here.

New Housing Agencies: in place of the Housing Corporation (which closed last week) we now have the Tenant Services Authority as the regulator of social housing providers. It will immediately exercise the current statutory powers formerly vested in the Corporation. The Homes & Communities Agency will deal with the delivery of social and low cost housing. The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2008 makes the necessary amendments to a whole range of housing statutes consequent upon these changes. For a copy of the order, click here.

Housing Loses a "Hero": Bob Lawrence, special adviser on housing at Communities & Local Government, died last week. Bob had been a Chief Executive of the Empty Homes Agency and had worked tirelessly to address homelessness. A special memorial fund dedicated to homelessness charity, CRISIS, has been established in his honour. For the details, click here.

Family Intervention Tenancies: these new tenancies (FITs) will be available from 1 January 2009. In preparation for their introduction, regulations have been made to exempt the re-housing of tenants who were in FITs from the normal housing allocation rules. For a copy of the regulations, click here.

Home Loss Payments: tenants and owners in Wales displaced by public authorities after 25 November 20008 will receive higher home loss compensation. A Welsh Assembly measure increases the minimum payment to £4700. For a copy of the regulation, click here.

Gypsies & Other travellers: in two speeches in recent weeks, the Junior Housing Minister set out the Government's present approach to issues around the accommodation needs of these communities. For the text of the two speeches, click here.

Help for Homeowners: one aspect of the Pre-Budget Report on 24 November 2008 was a re-statement of the measures the Government is taking, or proposing to take, to prevent eviction of waves of mortgage-defaulting homeowners. For the details, click here.
On 27 November 2008 the Financial Services Authority wrote to Chief Executives of all mortgage lenders and all mortgage administrators to remind them of their responsibilities under the mortgage conduct of business (MCOB) rules for ensuring the fair treatment of customers in arrears. For a copy of that letter, click here.

The state of our Housing stock: last week saw publication of a comprehensive statement of the state of the housing stock in the Annual Report of the English House Condition Survey (2006). For a summary, click here. For the full report, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

27 November 2008
Kaczmarek v Secretary of State
[2008] EWCA Civ 1310
The Court of Appeal has again rejected an attempt to establish from Articles 12 and/or 18 of the EU Treaty a freestanding right for a non-UK EU national lawfully residing in the UK to freely access the social welfare system (in the form of income support). For the transcript, click here.

25 November 2008
Admiral Taverns (Cygnet) Ltd v Daniel
[2008] EWCA Civ, [2008] All ER (D) 251 (Nov)
The defendant appealed against the grant of a possession order and obtained a stay pending the hearing of the appeal. The claimant contended that there was no jurisdiction to grant a stay because Housing Act 1980 section 89 prevented a court staying execution of (most) possession orders for more than 14 days (or, exceptionally, 6 weeks). The Court of Appeal held that the section did not oust the inherent jurisdiction of an appeal court to grant a stay to preserve the position until an appeal could be heard.

25 November 2008
McPherson v Legal Services Commission
[2008] EWHC 2865 (Ch), [2008] All ER (D) 267 (Nov)
In mortgage possession proceedings, the defaulting borrower had received legal aid to defend the claim. The litigation was eventually compromised. The Legal Services Commission sought to secure their statutory charge against the premises. The High Court rejected a contention that the borrower had not "recovered or preserved" any property in the proceedings. The statutory charge applied and was to be the subject of a restriction on the registered title.

24 November 2008
Small v North Somerset Council
[2008] EWHC (Admin), [2008] All ER (D) 245 (Nov).
The council adopted a local plan which contained a policy for gypsy and traveller sites but indicated that no land had actually been allocated for such sites in the council's area. A planning inspector recommended that the council adopt a Development Plan Document to identify such sites consistently with Circular 01/2006 but did not direct amendment of the existing local plan. A claim for the quashing of the local plan was rejected by the High Court. Despite the force of the claimant's arguments, the quashing of the existing plan would not, of itself, achieve any benefit for gypsies or other travellers.

24 November 2008
Chohan v McManus
[2008] EWCA Civ, [2008] All ER (D) 228 (Nov).
From 1993 to 2001, the defendant had been a full assured tenant. In 2002, the landlord purported to grant him a new assured shorthold tenancy. The issue for the court was whether his previous assured tenancy had ended between 2001 and 2002 when he was absent from the premises for a lengthy period and not paying any rent. A judge found that during that period he had ceased to occupy as his only or principal home and thus lost his "assured" status. The Court of Appeal dismissed the tenant's appeal. The judge had been entitled to find that he had been absent without any continuing intention to return.

Housing Law Events this Month

1-2 December 2008
The Crime & ASB Conference (in Harrogate)
Northern Housing Consortium

For the details, click here

3 December 2008
Residential Landlord & Tenant Conference
Professional Conferences

For the details, click here

8 December 2008
National Youth Homelessness Conference (Croydon)
For details e-mail:

9 December 2008
Housing & Regeneration Act 2008
A CIH Conference

For the details, click here

10 December 2008
The Housing Law Conference
Annual HLPA Conference in London.

For the details, click here.

11 December 2008
Housing Management
A Lime Legal Conference (Manchester)

For the details, click here.

12 December 2008
Housing Management
A Lime Legal Conference (London).

For the details, click here.


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