Issue 169 - 1st March 2010

Monday 1 March 2010

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The Latest Housing Law News

New national standards for social landlords: the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) will announce later this month the content of the new national statutory standards to be observed by both local councils and housing associations from 1 April 2010. The TSA has been working through a deluge of comments on the draft standards. This week it has published those responses received to its statutory consultation on the draft standards, including the response from the Housing Law Practitioners Association (HLPA). To access copies of the responses, click here.

New Housing Association homes: on 23 February 2010 the Housing Minister confirmed that the Homes and Communities Agency had allocated nearly £500 million to housing associations in England across 222 local authority areas, to support the delivery of a further 8,000 homes. Of those, 5,000 will be for rent and 3000 for sale under low cost housing options. For details of the distribution of the funds, click here. For a regional breakdown of the £3.5 billion committed to house building in England since June 2009, click here.

Housing and Anti Social behaviour: the latest issue of ASB Focus (Issue 8: February 2010) has just been published. It features articles on: the use of Drink Banning Orders; the terms of prohibitions in ASBOs; and the new procedure rules that will apply to civil cases in the criminal courts (ASBO and Premises Closure Order applications) from April 2010. To download a copy, click here.

Legal Aid for Housing Cases: on Friday 26 February 2010, the LSC launched the tender process for Social Welfare Law services in England and Wales (including Housing). The deadline for submitting tenders is 12 noon on 21 April 2010. More information is available on the LSC's Social Welfare Law tendering page. To access that, click here.

Housing Cases in the Supreme Court: those keen to follow the progress of housing cases in the United Kingdom's new Supreme Court will be helped by recent changes to its website. It now features lists of the applications made for permission to appeal - whether granted or refused (click here) and the minutes of User Group meetings (click here).

Right to Buy sales and Service Charges: the latest issues on right to buy sales of council flats and on the service charges payable by such leaseholders for repairs to their buildings are reviewed in two presentations given to the SHLA Leasehold Update seminar. The presentations can be downloaded, free, by clicking here.

 

The Latest Housing Case Law

24 February 2010
UK Housing Alliance (North West) Ltd v Francis
[2010] EWCA Civ 117
The company bought the defendant's home from him under a sale and rent-back arrangement. It paid him 70% of the price, with the remaining 30% to be paid on his moving-out at the end of a 10-year fixed term assured shorthold tenancy. The rent was not paid and the company claimed possession. The tenant sought to recover the 30% balance, contending that it was either a 'deposit' or that it had been paid pursuant to an unfair contract term. The Court of Appeal rejected both arguments. The retained element of the sale price was not a 'deposit' within the Housing Act 2004 and the term of the agreement stating that it would be lost if the tenancy terminated on default was not unfair. To read the full judgment click here.

23 February 2010
Birmingham CC v Frisby
Court of Appeal
The council sought a possession order against the defendant, an introductory tenant. A question arose as to whether the tenant could assert in the county court that he had a 'public law' defence to the possession proceedings. The council applied to the Court of Appeal to stand the case out of its list on the grounds that the whole issue of public law defences to possession claims would be reviewed by the Supreme Court in Manchester CC v Pinnock (a demoted tenancy case) which is listed to be heard in July 2010 before nine justices of that court. The application was refused. The hearing would proceed in the week commencing 15 March 2010 together with the hearing of four other appeals: two raising a similar issue in relation to introductory tenants (Leeds CC v Hall and Salford CC v Mullen) and two relating to non-secure tenants (Manchester CC v Mushin and Hounslow LBC v Powell).

23 February 2010
Harrow LBC v Ibrahim
C- 310/08
Mrs Ibrahim, a Somali national, came to the UK in February 2003 to join her husband, a Danish national, who was working here. They had four children, all Danish nationals (one born in the UK) who went to school here. In January 2007 when neither she nor her husband was working, she became homeless and applied to Harrow for homelessness assistance. It decided that she was not eligible and nor was her husband. The Court of Appeal referred that issue to the European Court in Luxembourg. It ruled that the schoolchildren of an EU national who had worked in the UK, and the parents of such children, had freestanding and unconditional rights to reside in the UK under article 12 of EU regulation 1612/68. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

23 February 2010
Teixeira v Lambeth LBC
C-480/08
The claimant was a Portugese national who came to the UK in 1989 to work. Her child was born in 1991 and was educated here. The claimant worked on-and-off from 1991 to 2007 when she became homeless and applied to Lambeth for homelessness assistance. It decided that, as she was no longer a 'worker' and was not eligible. The Court of Appeal referred that issue to the European Court in Luxembourg. It ruled that the schoolchild of an EU national who had worked in the UK, and the parent of such a child, had freestanding and unconditional rights to reside in the UK under article 12 of EU regulation 1612/68. That right did not end simply because the child reached 18 but might remain if the child continued to need the presence and support of the parent to complete her education. For a copy of the judgment click here.

 

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
The authors of this series of articles in Legal Action magazine have opened a discussion about its future on the Nearly Legal website. To read and contribute to that debate click here.

Safe as houses
(tenancy deposits)
J. S. del Ceno
[2010] 154 Solicitors Journal No.7 p19
For a copy of the article, click here.

Housing Costs Rules Revisited
(housing costs in ESA, JSA and IS claims)
S. Osbourne
[2010] 124 Welfare Rights Bulletin 9

Housing Law Books

Repairs: tenants' rights
The new edition of Repairs: tenants' rights by Jan Luba QC, Deirdre Forster and Beatrice Prevatt has been published. Price: £45.00. For full details, click here.

Housing Allocation and Homelessness - new edition
The new edition of Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice by Jan Luba QC and Liz Davies can now be ordered. Price: £50.00. For full details, click here.

Housing Law Handbook - 10% off
The Housing Law Handbook, edited by Stephen Cottle and written by other members of the Garden Court Housing Team, provides a first port of call for lawyers and advisors dealing with housing. The book covers possession proceedings, homelessness rights, the allocation of social housing, and other routes into housing. To claim your 10% discount, order online and quote promotion code GCTHLH when prompted.

Housing Law Consultations

Closing on 12 March 2010
The CLG consultation on draft guidance to Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Housing Act 2004 which explains the definition of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for licensing purposes, the effect of the licensing provisions in Parts 2 and 3 of the Act and the circumstances in which management orders can be made under Part 4. For a copy of the draft click here.

Closing on 12 March 2010
The CLG consultation on possible general consents for HMO licensing and selective licensing by local authorities. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 24 March 2010
The CLG consultation on changes to the Code for Sustainable Homes. For a copy of the consultation paper click here.

Closing on 28 March 2010
The Ministry of Justice consultation on a proposal to require mortgage lenders to obtain a court order or the consent of the borrower before repossessing and selling residential owner-occupied homes. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 16 April 2010
The Equality & Human Rights Commission consultation on non-statutory guidance under the Equality Bill. For copies of the consultation documents and further details, click here.

Closing on 28 April 2010
The HM Treasury consultation on investment in the private rented sector. For a copy of the consultation paper,click here.

Closing on 30 April 2010
The Ministry of Justice consultation on minimum thresholds of debt default necessary to found Orders for Sale of debtor's homes. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here.

Closing on 30 April 2010
The FSA consultation on proposals to help ensure that mortgage borrowers in arrears are treated fairly. For a copy of the consultation papers click here.

Housing Law Events

15 March 2010
What's Social about Social Housing?
A lunchtime Oxford Housing Seminar with Prof. David Cowan
For the details, click here.

17 March 2010
Possession Claims and the Elusive Defence
An HLPA evening meeting in London
For the details, click here.

15 April 2010
Judicial Review Conference
A conference organised by Garden Court Chambers in London (to be repeated in Birmingham in July 2010).
For the details, click here.

29 April 2010
Homelessness: getting past the gatekeepers!
A Garden Court Chambers evening seminar.
For the details, click here.

 

 

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