Issue 123 - 9th February 2009

Monday 9 February 2009

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A Garden Court Chambers Seminar - Possession proceedings and convention rights - more twists and turns - is being given by Jan Luba QC and Stephen Cottle on Wednesday 11 February 2009 from 18:30 to 20:00. For more details, click here.

The Latest Housing Law News

Preventing eviction of mortgage borrowers: on 3 February 2009 Andrew Dismore MP introduced a 10 minute Private Members Bill to give greater protection to borrowers facing repossession. The Mortgage Repossession (Protection) Bill is scheduled for a second reading on 26 June 2009. For more details of the content of the Bill, click here.

Owners becoming tenants: on 6 February 2008 the Government launched a consultation exercise on the scope for strengthening protection of vulnerable homeowners. It is proposing that companies offering sale and rent back agreements, which may target homeowners facing repossession, should be brought within the scope of Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulation. The consultation closes on 1 May 2009. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here. In the shorter term, the FSA is consulting on a possible interim regulatory regime. Its consultation exercise runs to 30 April 2009. For a copy of the FSA consultation paper, click here.

Housing & Disability: on 3 February 2009 the UK Government announced that it is committed to signing the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Rights of Disabled People. The Convention itself reaffirms that disabled people have - and should be able to enjoy - human rights on an equal basis with non-disabled people. The Optional Protocol builds on this by establishing two additional procedures in respect of implementation and monitoring of the Convention. They includes an avenue an opportunity for individuals, who feel their rights have been breached, to bring petitions to the UN Committee, set up to monitor implementation of the Convention. After Parliamentary approval, it is hoped that formal ratification will be achieved in Spring 2009. For more details, click here.

Lawyers for Landlord Regulation: the Tenant Services Authority is strengthening its legal team by the appointment of a Head of Law and additional lawyers. Barristers and solicitors with housing expertise might usefully apply. The closing date is 19 February 2009. For more details click here:

Advocacy for Tenants: Citizens of Equal Worth published on 5 February 2009 is an executive summary of the Project Group's proposals for the new National Tenant Voice organisation intended to represent the interests of tenants. For a copy of the summary, click here.

Housing Data: the February 2008 issue of Housing and Planning Key Facts contains the latest data for England on housing stock tenure, lettings, overcrowding, rents and homelessness. For a copy, click here.

Right to Buy in Wales: The draft National Assembly for Wales (Legislative Competence) (Housing) Order 2009 has been laid before Parliament for approval. The order would allow the welsh assembly to legislate for (a) suspension of the right to buy in particular circumstances; (b) modification of the right so that it ceases to apply in relation to particular classes of dwelling. For a copy of the draft Order, click here. For a copy of the explanatory memorandum, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

29 January 2009
Dobson v Thames Water Utilities Ltd
[2009] EWCA Civ 28
Residents living near the defendant's sewage treatment works brought a group action alleging nuisance and negligence in the operation of the works. They claimed to have been affected by odours and mosquitoes. It was not in dispute that they might recover compensation for breach of Article 8 of Schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998 if their enjoyment of their homes had been impaired. But there was no agreement as to the basis on which any such damages might be assessed. Nor whether such damages might be payable in addition to any damages otherwise awarded at common law. The Court of Appeal's judgment contains a review of the correct approach to the assessment of compensation under Article 8. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

4 February 2009
Holmes-Moorhouse v Richmond LBC
[2009] UKHL 7
The claimant and his partner separated and he left the family home they had occupied with their children. In the family court he was granted an order that the children spend half their time with him. On his homelessness application, the council decided that he did not have priority need because the children were not "reasonably expected" to reside with him. His appeal against that decision was initially dismissed but then allowed by the Court of Appeal. The House of Lords restored the council's decision. It was a matter for the council and not for the family court to decide whether a homeless person's children might reasonably be expected to reside with him. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Tolerated Trespassers: The Long Goodbye
R. Latham
[2009] February Legal Action 33

Recent Developments in Housing Law
HHJ Madge and J. Luba QC
[2009] February Legal Action 27

An Impartial Review? (Homelessness and Article 6)
J. Burton
[2009] New Law Journal 147

Landlord and tenant aspects of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008
D. Dovar and P. Harrison
[2009] 13 L. & T. Review 17

Statutory controls over service charges: can parties contract out and waive?
J. Brenan
[2009] 13 L. & T. Review 20

Housing Law Events

10 February 2009
Housing - The changing legal landscape
University of Oxford Housing Seminar
For details, click here.

24 February 2009
Tolerated trespassers (Manchester)
A Chartered Institute of Housing Training Event
For the details, click here.

24 February 2009
University of Oxford Housing Seminar
For details, click here.

13 March 2009
Gypsy & Traveller Law Update
A LAG Training Course
For the details, click here

18 March 2009
Possession & Tolerated Trespassers
A HLPA Members' Meeting and AGM in London
For the details, click here

25 March 2009
Mortgage Possession: Preventing Homelessness and Protecting Homeowners
A Lime Legal Conference
For the details, click here.

30 March 2009
Defending Possession Proceedings
A LAG Training Course
For the details, click here



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