Issue 29 - 18th September

Monday 18 September 2006

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Government and Legislation

On 13 September 2006 the government announced that the requirement to produce a Homelessness Strategy would shortly be removed from 4-star and 3-star local housing authorities: see Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Press Release 94/06

The obligation has already been lifted from "excellent" authorities in England and the extention to the 4-star and 3-star authorities will be made by Order after Parliament reassembles.

The growing number of possession claims for mortgage default might well represent the start of a surge. Research published by Citizens Advice on 13 September 2006 found 770,000 borrowers had missed one or more repayment within the past 12 months:
See Research

On 11 September 2006 the statistics for homelessness in England for the first 6 months of 2006 were published. Click here for the summary
On the same day, DCLG issued its Policy Brief 16: Homelessness Statistics September 2006 and Introducing Preventing Homelessness A Strategy Health Check
And the full self-assessment toolkit itself - Preventing Homelessness: A Strategy Health Check helps local authorities review their homelessness strategies and establish how effective their services are in tackling and preventing homelessness.

More and more social landlords have been signing up to the "Respect Standard for housing management" published by the government last month. For more about the Standard

Parliament is still in recess until 9 October 2006 (Lords) and 10 October 2006 (Commons).

Cases

PB (The Queen on the application of) v Haringey LBC [2006] EWHC 2255 (Admin), 18 September 2006, Admin .The claimant was a Jamaican national and an "overstayer" (remaining in the UK without leave). Of her five children (four born in the UK) one was with his father and the other four were subject to care proceedings. She was homeless and applied to Haringey. It found that she was not eligible for social housing or homelessness assistance. It also decided that although she might suffer hardship if street homeless that would arise solely from destitution and therefore not entitle her to assistance under NAA 1948 s21. In any event, it decided that any "care and attention" she needed could be met by her returning to Jamaica. The Judge decided that the council had failed to properly address (1) whether destitution would be the sole cause of her need for care if street homeless (given suggested pre-existing mental illness) and (2) whether her right to respect for family life would be impaired if she were forced to leave the UK without her children.

Earle v Charalambous [2006] EWCA Civ 1090, 28 July 2006. The claimant held the long lease of a top floor flat. The roof leaked allowing rainwater to penetrate and causing the collapse of a ceiling. The landlord had notice of the problems and was obliged to repair under the lease. The tenant claimed compensation. Liability was admitted. The judge awarded general damages of £20,000 for the 35 months that the tenant put up with the conditions and £10,000 for a further 21 months when he had been forced to vacate and live elsewhere. After a comprehensive review of the authorities on the quantum of damages for disrepair, the Court of Appeal reduced the first figure to £13,500.

The new Term in the Supreme Court (Court of Appeal and High Court) starts on 2nd October 2006.

This Week

18 September 2006: Homelessness & Allocations a Legal Action Group training event. Details from

20 September 2006: Rent arrears & Possession HLPA General meeting.
Click here for details

22 September 2006: Homelessness Prevention National Conference of the Association of Housing Advice Services. Details

Next Month

2 to 5 October 2006: Homelessness & Housing Allocation series of seminars organised by Jordans. Click here for details.

16 October 2006: Housing Disrepair a Legal Action Group training event. Details

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