Issue 147 - 1st September 2009

Tuesday 1 September 2009

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The Latest Housing Law News

Fire risks addressed: the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) has sent registered social landlords (RSLs) a further briefing on developments since the Camberwell tower block fire and attached detailed advice on fire risk assessments and tackling fire safety in the common parts of blocks of flats. For a copy of the TSA's advice, click here.
Meanwhile, following concerns about fire safety, Calderdale Council has issued an emergency prohibition order which required an entire block of privately owned flats to be decanted. For the details, click here.

Policing the Social Housing Sector: advisers have been understandably concerned about the overlap in arrangements between the agencies which will be responsible for oversight of social housing from April 2010. In particular, it had not been clear how the Tenant Services Authority (the new regulator), the Audit Commission (responsible for inspections) and the Independent Housing Ombudsman Service (IHO) would work together. The TSA and Audit Commission have now entered into a Memorandum of Understanding. For a copy, click here. The TSA and the IHOS have agreed an Interim Protocol. For a copy of that document, click here.

Money advice for tenants and homeowners: the latest edition of the HAT Update (August 2009) from the Homelessness Action Team contains a useful review of the extent to which timely money advice can avoid homelessness, together with examples of best practice. To download a copy, click here.

Right to buy social housing: there has been a collapse in interest in the right to buy (RTB) social housing. In 2007/8 there were 15,110 RTB sales in England but that fell to 3,860 sales in 2008/9. Of those sold, 2860 were council houses and 1000 were RSL properties. Another 3500 social housing properties were sold voluntarily. For the full figures, released on 27 August 2009, click here.

New Council Housing: under section 80B of the Local Government & Housing Act 1989 local authorities in England can apply to the Secretary of State for approval to keep the rental income from specified council housing. Such housing can then also be sold with councils keeping the full capital receipt. The Government has now published guidance for authorities which want to apply for such approval. For a copy, click here. For an assessment of the responses submitted to a consultation exercise about the new guidance, click here.

 

The Latest Housing Case Law

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom: this new court at the former Guildhall, which replaces the judicial function of the House of Lords, will hear its first cases in October 2009. Meanwhile the new court's Registry Office is already open for business and is receiving applications and notices of appeal in several Housing cases. For operational details about the new Supreme Court, click here. In the Autumn, it will be possible to access its new web-pages by clicking here.

The Supreme Court of England & Wales: this is based at the Royal Courts of Justice and embraces the Court of Appeal and High Court which are not sitting at present except to hear urgent Vacation business. To access information about the operation of these courts, click here.

 

Housing Law Articles

Whose duty is it anyway?
(housing for teenagers)
G. Gallagher
[2009] Inside Housing 28 August issue p25
For a copy of the article, click here.

Solid Grounds
(comment on Circle 33 v Kathirkmanathan)
I. Larkins
[2009] Inside Housing 28 August issue p25
For a copy of the article, click here.

Tenants may not be able to refuse entry
(landlord's rights on inspection)
J. Barker and C. Braddish
(2009) 933 Estates Gazette 59

Sound the Alarm
(fire risk assessments)
D. Barrett
(2009) 933 Estates Gazette 62

 

Housing Law Consultations

Closing on 8 September 2009
The TSA consultation on new national housing standards. For a zip file containing all the consultation and background documents, click here.

Closing on 17 September 2009
The consultation on proposals for draft secondary legislation that would remove the (up to) £15 excess Housing Benefit in cases where the Local Housing Allowance rate is higher than the contractual rent. For the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 17 September 2009
A consultation on proposals to modify Part F (Means of Ventilation) of the Building Regulations to address the problem of ventilation being reduced by heat-loss prevention measures. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 18 September 2009
The consultation on the new benchmark by which the Audit Commission will inspect strategic housing activity by local authorities. For the consultation paper, click here.
For the consultation questions, click here.

Closing on 23 September 2009
The consultation on capping any administration fees that housing authorities may wish to charge when offering such equity loan or equity share arrangements to leaseholders needing help with service charges. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 9 October 2009
The consultation on the Government's proposed statutory directions to the TSA as to the standards it sets for social landlords. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 14 October 2009
The consultation on proposals to extend the protection of tenants who find themselves facing eviction when their landlords default on mortgage payments. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 23 October 2009
The consultation on the new Housing Allocation Code of Guidance for England. For a copy of the consultation draft, click here.

Closing on 30 October 2009
The consultation on extending the remit of the new social housing regulator (the Tenant Services Authority) to cover council housing as well as housing associations. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

 

Housing Law Events

7 September 2009
Recent Developments in Housing Law
A Legal Action Group Training Day
For the details, click here.

15 September 2009
Tenancy Agreements
A CIH Conference in London
For the details, click here.

16 September 2009
Community Care & Housing
A HLPA meeting in London
For the details, click here.

17 September 2009
Housing & Human Rights
A NWHLPG conference in Manchester
For contact details, click here.

24 September 2009
Children's Rights Day Conference
London
For the details, click here.

24 September 2009
Introduction to the LVT/RPTS
A HLPA training seminar
For the details, click here.

29 September 2009
Housing Allocation & Homelessness
A Jordan Publishing Conference in London
For the details, click here.

30 September 2009
Using the Housing Act 2004 (HMOs to TDS)
A HLPA training seminar
For the details, click here.

9 October 2009
Housing & Support for Migrants
A LAG training day
For the details, click here.

13 October 2009
Social Housing Allocation
A Lime Legal Conference in London
For the details, click here.

14 October 2009
Anti Social Behaviour & Social Housing
A Lime Legal Conference in London
For the details, click here.

15 October 2009
Introduction to Disrepair
A HLPA training seminar
For the details, click here.

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