Issue 170 – 8th March 2010

Monday 8 March 2010

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The Latest Housing Law News

Mortgage Rescue: on 4 March 2010 the Government published a new leaflet describing its mortgage rescue scheme in England: Government mortgage to rent. The leaflet is only available on-line. For copies, click here.

Social Housing Allocation: on 3 March 2010 the Housing Minister announced the launch of a new "home-finding" scheme (run by local councils and housing associations) to help residents with job offers in other areas to obtain access to social and other affordable housing in those areas. The scheme will be piloted in the North of England before being rolled-out to other parts of the country. For the details, click here.

Housing and Anti Social Behaviour: on 1 March 2010 the Prime Minister announced a package of new measures on anti-social behaviour to include: clear national standards for ASBOs; faster application processes; tougher action when orders are breached; and a "guarantee of protection" for victims of the worst cases of anti-social behaviour including support in obtaining an injunction (and payment of legal fees) where an enforcement agency has let them down. For a copy of his speech, click here. On 3 March 2010 the latest research from the National Centre for Social Research on Family Intervention Projects was published by the Government. The research shows that FIPs achieve a significant and lasting reduction in anti-social behaviour by most families involved with them. For a copy of the report, click here. For the Government press release on the report, click here.

Legal aid and housing: on 3 March 2010 the Government published Sir Ian Magee's Review of Legal Aid Delivery and Governance. The report presents his recommendations to improve the system of legal aid delivery and sets out options for structural change. For a copy, click here. The Government immediately announced a decision to change the Legal Services Commission's status to that of an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. For details of that announcement, click here.

Housing in London: on 27 February 2010 the Housing Minister announced that he would not exercise his powers under the Greater London Act 2007 to direct the Mayor of London to change the housing strategy for the capital. For a copy of the announcement, explaining the Minister's reasons, click here.

The Latest Housing Case Law

26 February 2010
Serious Organised Crime Agency v Olden
[2010] EWCA Civ 143
A judge was satisfied that Mr Olden had been engaged in unlawful conduct in the form of mortgage frauds and other deceptions and made an order for the proceeds of that unlawful conduct to be confiscated under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The confiscated property included residential premises and a caravan and the judge made possession orders in respect of them. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal. Possession orders cannot be made under the 2002 Act. The correct procedure is for the trustee, in whom the confiscated property vests by an order under the 2002 Act, to bring ordinary possession proceedings under CPR Part 55. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

11 February 2010
Haringey LBC v Hines
[2010] EWCA Civ 171
Ms Hines bought her council flat at a discount under the right to buy. The council later claimed that the lease had been granted ultra vires (beyond its powers) because Ms Hines had not been occupying the flat and had therefore lost secure tenant status when she exercised the right to buy: Housing Act 1985 section 81. The judge decided that Ms Hines had deliberately deceived the council and ordered her to pay damages. The Court of Appeal granted her permission to appeal against those decisions but refused her permission to appeal against the judge's finding that she had not been a secure tenant because she had ceased to occupy the flat and had been living elsewhere. That finding turned on the facts and there was no prospect of successfully appealing the judge's decision on that ground.

Housing Law Articles

Recent Developments in Housing Law
N. Madge and J. Luba
[2010] March Legal Action 28
The authors of this series of articles have opened a discussion about its future on the Nearly Legal website. To read and contribute to that debate click here.

Allocating social housing: the new guidance
R. Latham
[2010] March Legal Action 32

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

[This week] 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.

[This week] 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

[This week] 12 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.

19 March 2010
Gypsy and Traveller Law Update
A LAG training event 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 and Lettings
A Lime Legal Conference in London.
For the details, click here.

29 April 2010
Public law and housing
A LAG Training event in London.
For the details, click here.

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

13 May 2010
Social Housing Law and Practice
A Lime Legal Conference in London.
For the details,click here.

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