Issue 136 - 26th May 2009

Tuesday 26 May 2009

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The Latest Housing Law News

Tolerated trespassers: there are (hopefully) no more tolerated trespassers. On Wednesday 20 May 2009 most of the provisions of s299 and Schedule 11 to the Housing & Regeneration Act 2008 came into force. For the commencement order for England and Wales, click here. At the same time, an order was made extending the application of the new provisions to "successor landlord" cases in England. For that order, click here. For the equivalent order for Wales, click here. The Government has issued non-statutory guidance explaining the changes. For a copy of the guidance, click here. Three subparagraphs of the Schedule have not yet been commenced for reasons explained at paragraphs 18-20 of the guidance. That has sparked a lively exchange between housing practitioners. To follow that discussion, click here.

Consumer Credit Agreements: while the county courts still hold tens of thousands of stayed "bank charges" cases pending the outcome of a House of Lords appeal, they are now accumulating scores of applications to set aside credit agreements (including, no doubt, some secured loans) made under the Consumer Credit Acts 1974 and 2006. Press coverage of case management of 52 such cases in the Chester County Court on 19 May 2009 led to a statement from the Judicial Communications Office. For a copy, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

21 May 2009
R(McKenzie) v Waltham Forest LBC
[2009] EWHC 1097 (Admin)
The claimant was an assured shorthold tenant living in a hostel for single men and women. Toilet and bathroom facilities were shared. When she informed the hostel managers that she was pregnant, they served a section 21 notice requiring her to leave at a date three months after her expected date of confinement. When she applied to the council as homeless, it initially decided that it owed her no duty but shortly before her confinement it provided accommodation. The claimant sought judicial review on the basis that it could never be reasonable for a pregnant woman in her third trimester to continue to share facilities with unrelated males and that the council should therefore have accepted her application earlier. The High Court dismissed the claim. Whether it was reasonable for a particular applicant to remain in particular accommodation was fact-sensitive and should not be determined by application of general propositions. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

20 May 2009
R(G) v Southwark LBC
[2009] UKHL 26
The claimant was aged 17 and had been excluded from his parent's home. After several weeks sofa-surfing and sleeping in cars he applied to the children's services department of the council for assistance. It decided that he was a child in need and that he needed help in obtaining accommodation. It directed him to the council's homeless persons services for assistance on the basis that he would be accommodated because he had a priority need. The House of Lords held that because he satisfied all of the conditions in section 20 of the Children Act 1989 he had been owed an accommodation duty under that section. The children's services department could not release itself from the obligations of that duty by a referral to a housing department. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

20 May 2009
Yesiloz v Camden LBC
[2009] EWCA Civ 415
The claimant was a Turkish national and an asylum seeker who had been granted temporary admission and was lawfully in the UK. His claim for housing benefit was refused on the basis that he was not to be treated as habitually resident in the UK because he did not have a "right to reside" for the purposes of regulation 10(3) of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006. He argued that as he was lawfully present and was a national of a country that had ratified the ECSMA treaty, he had a right to reside. The Court of Appeal held that the concept of a right to reside required a positive and lawful "right" not merely a lawful presence. The claimant had no such right. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Events

This Week

28 May 2009
Service Charges
A SHLA afternoon seminar
For the details click here

Next Month

4 June 2009
Mortgage Possession Proceedings
A HLPA intermediate level seminar
For the details click here

17 June 2009
Judicial Review
A Garden Court Chambers Conference

For the details click here

19 June 2009
Successful Housing Litigation
A Jordans Training Seminar
For the details click here

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