Issue 129 - 30th March 2009

Monday 30 March 2009

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The Latest Housing Law News

The Right to Housing: on 23 March 2009 the Ministry of Justice published a Green Paper containing proposals for a new Rights and Responsibilities Act. The paper re-states the Government's belief that "...everyone should have access to a decent home at a price they can afford" (para 3.55). But the paper stops short of a commitment to include a 'right to housing' in the new legislation. No doubt, housing lawyers and advisers will press that point in their responses. For a copy of the Green Paper, click here.

Human Right to Housing: while the government develops its thinking on a new "right to housing" (above) the current focus is on the existing right to "respect" for a home guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention. The Committee of Ministers (responsible for enforcing Strasbourg Court judgments) will meet in June to consider the UK Government's response to McCann v UK. The Housing Law Practitioners Association has put in a formal submission to the Committee. For a copy, click here. In the meantime, the Strasbourg Court itself will be considering the submissions recently made by the complainant and the Government in Kay v UK. For the statement of facts in that case, and for the question posed by the Court (to which the submissions respond), click here.

Tenants of Mortgage Borrowers: in its recent report on Housing and the Credit Crunch the Select Committee on Communities & Local Government urged that more be done to protect private tenants who have paid their rents but face eviction by their landlords' mortgage lenders. For a copy of that report, click here. The issue has been highlighted in the new report from Crisis, CAB, Shelter and the CIH - A Private matter? Private tenants: the forgotten victims of the repossessions crisis published on 27 March 2009. For a copy of this new report, click here.

Council Housing rent increases: the difficulties caused by the Government's late decision to halve the national average guideline rent increase for 2009/2010 rumble on. Although most increases will take effect in the next few days, the Government this week invited comments from local authorities on the financial subsidy consequences of either ignoring or giving effect to the suggested and more modest increases. For a copy of the proposals, and invitation to respond, click here.

Home Information Packs: the requirements for the content of Home Information Packs (HIPs) will substantially change from next Monday. To help buyers and sellers prepare for the new rules, on 26 March 2009 the Government launched a revised edition of its leaflet Home Buying & Selling: A Guide to Home Information Packs. To download or order a copy, click here. A separate guide concentrating solely on the changesdrequirements - Changes to Home Buying and Selling is also available. For a copy, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

24 March 2009
R(Mendes) v Southwark LBC
[2009] EWCA Civ, [2009] All ER (D) 231 (Mar)
The claimant had applied to Southwark as homeless. It provided interim accommodation but later decided that he was not 'eligible' because although he was an EU national he was not a "worker". The claimant sought a review and, because the interim accommodation was to be withdrawn, also sought judicial review. The council conceded that its decision on his status had been wrong and the judicial review claim was compromised. The judge made no order for costs. The Court of Appeal allowed the claimant's appeal on costs. The council had had no answer to the claim for judicial review and should have been ordered to pay the costs.

25 March 2009
Hughes v Borodex Ltd
[2009] EWHC 565 (Admin)
A tenant held a long lease of a flat. When it expired she became a statutory assured tenant. Five years later, a Rent Assessment Committee (RAC) determined the rent at a level exceeding £25,000pa. That had the effect of removing security of tenure and the landlord served a notice to quit. The High Court upheld the RAC's decision. Although the result worked a hardship upon the tenant, who would lose her longstanding home, no alternative construction of the statutes was possible. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

25 March 2009
R(Best) v Oxford CC
[2009] EWHC 608 (Admin), [2009] All ER (D) 252 (Mar)
The council owed the claimant the full housing duty under Housing Act 1996 section 193. When the accommodation that had been provided pursuant to that duty was lost for non-payment of rent, the council decided that its duty had been ended because the claimant had become homeless intentionally. That decision led to a number of challenges including these proceedings for judicial review. The High Court dismissed the claim. It held that the council had been entitled to decide that the duty was no longer owed.

Latest Housing Law Articles

Housing Update
R. Cattermole
[2009] 153 Sol Jnl No.11 pp23-24

Housing Law Events

This Week

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

Next Month

23 April 2009
The TSA and Tolerated Trespassers
A HLPA Training Seminar
For the details click here

28 April 2009
Social Housing Conference
Organised by Hardwicke Building chambers
For the details, click here.

30 April 2009
Homelessness & Lettings
A Lime Legal Conference
For the details, click here

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