Issue 150 - 21st September 2009

Monday 21 September 2009

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The Latest Housing Law News

Legal advice on Housing: on 17 September 2009 the Legal Aid Minister announced that the contract to provide housing and other advice through the Community Legal Advice helpline had been awarded to a Swansea business, Ty Arian. The line operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm, on 0845 345 4345. For more details, click here. The Legal Services Commission is currently inviting bids to provide legal advice on housing law in West Sussex as part of the tender process for a new integrated Community Legal Advice in that county. The service will replace existing LSC contracts for housing and other social welfare law work in the county when current contracts expire next year. For the details, click here.

Council housing fraud: on 15 September 2009 the Audit Commission published Protecting the public purse: Local government fighting fraud. The report considers the key fraud risks and pressures facing councils. It identifies good practice in fighting fraud and tackling risks that are often not adequately addressed in relation to housing tenancies. The Commission found housing tenancy fraud could be tying up at least 50,000 council and housing association properties worth more than £2 billion. For a copy of the report, click here.

Innovation in social housing: the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) has announced the 37 projects which it will fund from this month until April 2010 under its "local deals" initiative designed to help social landlords and tenants develop local standards. Three projects will deal with housing allocation, four with anti-social behaviour and six with repairs and maintenance. For more details and the full list of the 37 projects, click here.

Building affordable homes: the Government announced on 14 September 2009 that £10 million from the "kickstart" scheme had been deployed to help complete 740 houses on stalled development schemes. For more details of the ten sites involved and the amounts distributed, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

20 August 2009
R(Gebremarium) v Westminster CC
[2009] EWHC 2254 (Admin)
The claimant had been an asylum seeker. She had been accommodated in Wales by NASS. When granted refugee status, she left NASS accommodation and rented privately in Cardiff. When later re-united with her four children, she gave up her one-bedroom flat and applied to Westminster for accommodation. She said that she wanted to live in London because it contained more members of her church and community. Westminster accepted the main housing duty but made a local connection referral to Cardiff which was accepted. The claimant applied for a review of that referral and, pending the review, asked for interim accommodation under Housing Act 1996 section 200(5). The council declined that request and the claimant sought judicial review. The High Court refused permission to seek judicial review. The council had considered all factors raised by the claimant and relevant to its exercise of discretion and had reached a lawful decision not to provide accommodation while it conducted the review.

26 June 2009
R(Fidelis-Auma) v Octavia Housing & Care HA
[2009] EWHC 2263 (Admin)
The claimant was an assured tenant of a housing association flat. She applied for a transfer to another vacant flat in the same block. The association advertised that flat to bidders under a choice based letting scheme. Bidders under the scheme had preference by bands. The claimant was in Band D. She did not bid and the flat was let to a higher prioritised bidder. The claimant sought judicial review. The judge decided that: (1) there was no jurisdiction because the decision of the association made under its own transfer scheme was not amenable to judicial review; (2) the claim was academic because the vacant flat had since been let and there were no grounds on which to oust the new tenant; (3) the association had lawfully and reasonably applied its allocation policy (and that policy had not been challenged) and (4) there had been substantial delay in bringing the claim.

Housing Law Articles

A stitch in time
(avoiding disrepair counterclaims)
R. Chahal
[2009] 18 September issue Inside Housing p37

A signature does not make it legal
(formalities for creating a lease)
M. Pawlowski
[2009] 936 Estates Gazette p90

Judge offers assurance to duped pair
(commentary on Redstone Mortgages v Welch)
S. Murdoch
[2009] 936 Estates Gazette p97

Private act or public function
(commentary on Weaver v LQHT)
N. Billingham
[2009] 12 Journal of Housing Law p83

A landlord's liability for the acts of its tenants
(third in a series of articles)
F. Sadiq and J. Bates
[2009] 12 Journal of Housing Law p86

The song is ended
(tolerated trespassers)
J. Petrie
[2009] 12 Journal of Housing Law p88

Mortgage Rescue and Homeowner Mortgage Support
C. Howell
[2009] 135 Adviser p50

Homeless 16 and 17 year olds
C. Fuller
[2009] 135 Adviser p17

Duty now for the future
(the main housing duty)
M. Coates
[2009] 135 Adviser p26

Housing Law Consultations

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

[THIS WEEK] 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
A Garden Court Chambers evening 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.

15 October 2009
Housing for Persons from Abroad
A Garden Court Chambers evening seminar.
For the details, click here.

 

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