Government and Legislation
The Pre-Action Protocol for Rent Arrears comes into force today (2 October 2006) and will be directly applicable to all rent arrears-based possession claims issued by social landlords (including local authorities) from now on. All claims should be rigorously examined for compliance with Protocol. The Protocol is reproduced in Defending Possession Proceedings (6th Edition at p697) or click here (and go to p46) for a copy :
The new rules for fire safety in the common parts of multi occupied houses and buildings containing flats came into force on Sunday 1 October 2006. The rules are contained in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 SI 1541 ( click here for a copy :) and their impact on the rental sector is outlined in a new Fire SafetyRisk Assessment: Sleeping Accommodation Guide. Click here for a copy:
Also on 1 October 2006 new rights for the occupiers of mobile homes on park sites came intro force by modification of Schedule 1 of the Mobile Homes Act 1983. For the Explanatory memorandum explaining the changes click here: . For a copy of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1) (England) Order 2006 SI 1755 click here :
Recent revisions to the Government's timetable for further legal changes in Housing are contained in Common Commencement Dates: An Update (September 2006). This indicates that: (1) the tenancy deposit scheme; (2) new rules on service charges; and (3) further improvements in the rights of mobile home site residents will all be introduced on 6 April 2007. Click here for a copy:
Parliament is still in recess until 9 October 2006 (Lords) and 10 October 2006 (Commons).
Nelson v Clearsprings (Management) Ltd  EWCA 1252, 22 September 2006, CA. Landlords brought a claim for possession for arrears of rent. The address for the defendant given on the claim form was 28 Brook Road. That was a mistake. The correct address was 26 Brook Road. The claim was not served and the defendant had no knowledge of the claim. At trial the defendant did not attend and judgment was given for possession and arrears. The defendant applied to set that aside as of right. The Court of Appeal rejected the competing contentions that (1) the order must be set aside as of right or (2) that the defendant had to satisfy the strict requirements of CPR 39.3(5). It held that the court has a discretion in such cases and the judgment sets out the factors to be considered in exercising it. For the transcript click here:
Pascoe v First Secretary of State  EWHC 2356 (Admin), 27 September 2006, Admin Crt. The claimant was a home owner in Liverpool. English Partnerships adopted a regeneration scheme for her area and made compulsory purchase orders in respect of the homes of the claimant and her neighbours. The orders were confirmed by an inspector and the Secretary of State on the basis that the area was 'predominantly' one of under-used or ineffectively used land. The Judge allowed an appeal because the statutory test was only satisfied if the land in question was, taken as a whole, ineffectively used or under-used. The references to 'predominantly' had been a misdirection.
Knowsley HT v White, Liverpool County Court, 15 September 2006. Following a 'stock-transfer' the defendant sought to exercise her preserved right to buy. That was refused on the basis that her assured tenancy had been lost by breach of a suspended possession order (Form N28). HHJ Mackay held that the tenancy had ended and the defendant had continued in occupation simply as a 'tolerated trespasser' without the preserved right to buy. He granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Stephensons (solicitors) act for the defendant in the appeal.
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The new Term in the Supreme Court (Court of Appeal and High Court) starts today (2 October 2006).
Housing Allocation & Homelessness
2 October Newcastle
3 October Manchester
4 October Birmingham
5 October London
This series of seminars is organised by Jordans. Click here for details.
16 October 2006: Housing Disrepaira Legal Action Group training event. Details from LAG