Issue 148 - 7th September 2009

Monday 7 September 2009

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The Latest Housing Law News

Help for homeowners and tenants in difficulties: on 31 August 2009 the Government issued a new package of information on the DirectGov website for mortgage borrowers and tenants in arrears. The material includes videos, interviews and articles and features DJ Stephen Gold. To access the new material relating to mortgage arrears, click here. To access the new material relating to rent arrears, click here.

Housing & anti-social behaviour: last week it became possible for local authorities to seek drinking banning orders in the county court when taking legal action (e.g. for possession or an injunction) arising from drink-related anti-social behaviour. New Home Office guidance explains the circumstances in which such orders can be sought and granted. For a copy, click here.

Quality of housing law advice: on 3 September 2009 the Legal Services Commission published the second edition of the Housing booklet in its series of guides entitled "Improving Your Quality" and designed for lawyers and legal advisers. The booklet sets out best practice in giving advice in matters relating to Housing law. For a copy of the guide, click here.

Representing tenants: the Government is stepping-up the process of establishing the new independent National Tenant Voice organisation. It has called for social housing tenants in England to volunteer to join NTV. The closing date is 16 October 2009. For more details, click here.

Heating systems - energy efficiency and safety: on 3 September 2009 the Government launched a consultation exercise on proposed changes to the Approved Document for Part J (Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems) of the Building Regulations that are planned to come into force in 2010. The key measures relate to: air supply for combustion in airtight homes; better guidance on bio-fuel technology; whether carbon monoxide alarms should be mandatory for use with solid fuel appliances; concealed flues; pluming (discharge) from condensing boilers and bunding (secondary containment) of domestic oil tanks.
The consultation closes on 26 November 2009. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here. The consultation follows a report on a review of Part J. For a copy of that report, click here.
The Government has also published a report making recommendations regarding the provision of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors under the building regulations. The report concludes that installing CO detectors alongside new gas appliances gives low cost benefit. However, in the instances of solid fuels, or systems on boats or caravans, the use of CO detectors is cost effective. For a copy of the report, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

London Borough of Harrow v Ibrahim
[2008] EWCA Civ 386
Teixeira v London Borough of Lambeth
[2009] HLR 9, [2008] EWCA Civ 1088, [2009] Eu LR 253
Last week, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg held the public hearing of questions referred to them by the Court of Appeal in these two cases relating to eligibility for homelessness assistance. At the hearing, the parties' lawyers put their cases before the judges and the advocate-general, who questioned them. The advocate-general will now deliver an opinion, after which the judges will deliberate and deliver their judgment.

3 September 2009
R(S) v Social Security Commissioner
[2009] EWHC Admin 2221
The claimant, a man with disabilities, lived in supported housing. His landlord provided accommodation and accommodation-related services in a joint venture with a separate organisation which provided him with counselling, care and support. The claimant asserted that he was entitled to full housing benefit (HB) under the exempt accommodation provisions of the HB regulations. A tribunal rejected that claim on the basis that the services were not provided "on behalf of" the landlord. A Social Security Commissioner refused permission to appeal on the ground that the decision in R(H) 2/07 had held that "on behalf of" meant that the care organisation had to be acting to fulfil an obligation otherwise falling on the landlord. The High Court dismissed a claim for judicial review. It held that R(H) 2/07 had been correctly decided. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

Housing Law Articles

Once bitten
(controlling tenants' dogs)
D. Forbes
[2009] Inside Housing 4 September 2009 issue p15
For a copy of the article, click here.

Voice Box
(comment on progress with National Tenant Voice)
P. Hackett
[2009] Inside Housing 4 September issue p18
For a copy of the article, click here.

Housing Law Consultations

[THIS WEEK] 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.

Closing on 26 November 2009
The consultation exercise on proposed changes to the Approved Document for Part J (Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems) of the Building Regulations. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Housing Law Events

[THIS WEEK] 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.

17 September 2009
Recent Developments in Homelessness and Allocation of Social Housing Law
18:30 to 20:00 at Garden Court Chambers
For the 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.

8 October 2009
Obtaining Accommodation outside of the Housing Act 1996
18:30 to 20:00 at Garden Court Chambers
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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