Issue 24 - 10th July

Monday 10 July 2006

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Government & Legislation

 

On 4 July 2006 the Caravan Sites (Security of Tenure and Related Clauses) Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons. This Private Members Bill will shortly be published. Click Here to view

On 6 July 2006 the enforcement provisions of the Housing Act 2004 came into force in England enabling councils to prosecute owners of HMOs operating without licences and to take other measures if the standards required by the Act are not met. On the same day, Residential Property Tribunals were vested with powers to make interim Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs). The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has also published a new booklet for property owners outlining the EDMO provisions. Click Here to see the DCLG Press Notice.

Cases

R(M) v Hammersmith & Fulham LBC [2006] EWCA Civ 917, 5 July, CA. Ms M applied to the council as homeless when she was 17, having been asked to leave the parental home by her mother. The council accepted the application and that Ms M may be both homeless and have a priority need. It provided accommodation under Housing Act 1996 s188 pending further enquiries. Ms M sought judicial review of the council for failing to recognise her as a "child in need" and failing to provide her with accommodation under Children Act 1989 Part III. The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against refusal of permission to apply for judicial review. The council had correctly accepted a duty under the housing legislation and performed it. Click Here to read the full judgment.

R(Mooney) v Southwark LBC [2006] All ER (D) 73 (Jul), 6 July, Admin Crt. Ms Mooney was the single parent of three children. She had a disability rendering her incapable of using stairs and her two younger sons had emotional and behavioural problems. A community care assessment recommended that social services put her forward for a "priority housing nomination" for a transfer from her current home (which had internal stairs). Not having been re-housed, she sought judicial review of the council's failure to accommodate her as a person in "need of care and attention" under s21 National Assistance Act 1948. The claim was dismissed. The need was for "housing" not "care and attention". Even if a s21 duty might otherwise be owed, the "need" was being met by the council's statutory allocation scheme and s21(8) would therefore apply to lift any s21(1) duty.

Gregory v Tower Hamlets LBC [2006] All ER(D) 65 (Jul), 6 July, CA. In a dispute over whether he had exercised the right to buy his home, Mr Gregory sought judicial review. A judge transferred the claim for ordinary trial in the High Court. The claim succeeded and Mr Gregory was awarded his costs. The council appealed on the basis that the claim should have been brought in the county court and (because it had not been) Housing Act 1996 s181(3) deprived the High Court of power to award him costs. The Court of Appeal dismissed that appeal. The original claim had raised issues which could be addressed on judicial review and so it was not possible to say that the requirements of s181(3) had been met.

Fletcher v Brent LBC [2006] EWCA Civ 960, 7 July, CA. Mr and Mrs Fletcher had been joint tenants of the council. Mrs Fletcher obtained a court order ousting her husband. She later gave notice to quit (NtQ) so as to end the tenancy and was re-housed. Her NtQ was expressed to expire on the same day it was given or "on the first Monday after that date being at least 4 clear weeks after service". On his homelessness application, Brent decided that the notice was ineffective and Mr Fletcher was not homeless because he was still a tenant. The Court of Appeal allowed his appeal. The NtQ had been valid and had ended the tenancy. The question of whether Mr Fletcher had any other right to occupy the property (e.g. under a subsequent express or implied licence fro the council) was remitted to the council's reviewing officer. Click Here to read the full judgment

 

Coming events

13 July 2006, Disrepair & Housing Act 2004: SHLA general meeting.
Click Here for more details

19 July 2006, Disability & Housing: HLPA general meeting.
Click Here for more details

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