Issue 32 - 9th October 2006

Monday 9 October 2006

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Government and Legislation

The House of Lords re-assembles today (9 October 2006) and will first deal with the Police and Justice Bill (Report Stage). Part 3 of the Bill will introduce in the housing field: (1) parenting contracts; (2) parenting orders; and (3) a new housing injunction (to replace current Housing Act 1996 section 153A). Click here for a copy of the version of the Bill that the Lords will be considering:

Also today, the new category of immigration status -“humanitarian protection” – is introduced. It forms a new class attracting eligibility for homelessness assistance and social housing allocation. For the housing regulations applicable in England follow this link: housing regulations . An explanatory letter sent to Chief Housing Officers can be found by following this Chief Housing Officers :

For the applicable regulations in Wales follow this link: applicable regulations in Wales . For an explanation of the circumstances in which “humanitarian protection” will be granted and for the Immigration Rule which introduces it today, follow this link: Immigration Rule

The CRE’s new statutory Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Housing came into effect last week. To get to the CRE’s dedicated web-page on Housing, with links to the new Code and introductory material, follow this link: CRE’s dedicated web-page on Housing, with links

The new scheme for helping low-income home-buyers obtain equity loans to top-up their maximum

available mortgages came into effect last week. For a description of the Government’s new Open Market Homebuy Scheme follow this link: Government’s new Open Market Homebuy Scheme

Arrangements for anti-social behaviour schemes in the county courts saw a change of “pilots” last week. The pilot scheme enabling a number of courts to grant ASBOs against minors has ended and is now being evaluated. A new pilot scheme for “anti-social behaviour case co-ordinators” is being rolled-out in 11 county courts including three of the busiest in London (Bow, Central London and Lambeth). For the DCA press release, announcing the new scheme, follow this link: Government’s new Open Market Homebuy Scheme

New research has taken an in-depth look at the success (or otherwise) of local authority choice-based letting schemes. A report published last week considered 11 English schemes and two operating in Scotland. For a summary report follow this link: local authority choice-based letting schemes

Uniform treatment of housing benefit claims for residents on Gypsy & Traveller sites has been recommended by a new report for the Department for Work & Pensions published last week. See A single housing benefit control for Gypsy & Traveller Sites (M.Wagstaff. DWP Research report No.379)

Allocations, Homelessness, Neighbour Nuisance and Transfer of Tenancy are among the subjects of complaints summarised in the Digest of Cases 2005/2006 (September 2006) published by the Local Government Ombudsmen last week. Copies are available at: www.lgo.org.uk/digest.htm

Cases

Kensington & Chelsea RLBC v Danesh [2006] EWCA Civ, [2006] All ER (D) 66 Oct, 5 October 2006. Mr Danesh had been accommodated as an asylum-seeker in Swansea but, having been granted leave to remain, travelled to London and applied as “homeless”. The council accepted that he was owed the main housing duty but referred that duty back to Swansea. Mr Danesh asked for a review on the basis that he would experience “violence”, in the form of racially motivated aggression and gestures, if he had to go back to Swansea. A reviewing officer confirmed the original decision and was upheld by the Court of Appeal. The Court held that “violence” in Housing Act 1996 s198 referred to actual or threatened physical violence only.

Westcar v Westcar [2006] EWCA Civ. [2006] All ER (D) 42 Oct, 4 October 2006. In this case the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal against the attachment of a “power of arrest” to an injunction. Both the Housing Act 1996 section 153 and the Family Law Act 1996 section 47 make the use of “violence” or “threat of violence” a pre-condition to the court’s ability to attach a power of arrest. The simple facts that the other party’s behaviour was “bizarre” and protection from it was required were not sufficient to give the court jurisdiction.

Riverside Housing Association Ltd v HM Customs & Excise [2006] EWHC 2383, 3 October 2006, Chancery Division. This is a case about whether a housing association had to pay VAT on the construction costs of its new divisional HQ. The judgment contains useful discussion of the extent to which registered social landlords (RSLs) are “businesses” and/or “bodies governed by public law”.

Next week
16 October 2006: Housing Disrepair a Legal Action Group training event. Details from www.lag.org.uk

17 October 2006: Housing Law Conference. a Local Government Group event. Click here for details

18-19 October 2006: Housing Management Conference. Organised by Chartered Institute of Housing: Follow this link for details . 19 October 2006: Advanced Judicial Review a Legal Action Group training event. Details from www.lag.org.uk

Coming Up
24 October 2006: Charging & Benefits in Community Care a Legal Action Group CCLR seminar. Details from www.lag.org.uk

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