Issue 33 - 16th October 2006

Monday 16 October 2006

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Government and Legislation

On 9 October 2006, the Homelessness (Wales) Regulations 2006 came into force. They provide that a person who is subject to immigration control is not eligible for housing assistance under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 (homelessness) unless that person is of a class prescribed in the regulations. For a copy click here:

On the same day the Allocation of Housing (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 came into force. They make provision in relation to the allocation of housing accommodation under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996. For a copy click here:

On 11 October 2006, the Association of Residential Letting Agents reported that the number of landlords in the Private Rented Sector who have invested in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) had fallen sharply and that the HMO share of the whole rental sector had dropped from nine percent to six percent over the last three months since the commencement of HMO licensing provisions in the Housing Act 2004. For the ARLA Press Notice click here:

On 13 October 2006, the Government issued watered-down guidance on the Ventilation requirements (Approved Document F) in the Building Regulations and taking immediate effect. For the detail of the changes click here:

The Law Society is seeking specialist housing solicitors to fill two vacancies on its Housing Law Committee. Deadline is 5 November 2006. Details from: philippa.wright@lawsociety.org.uk .

Cases

R(Heffernan) v Rent Service [2006] EWHC 2478 (Admin) 10 October 2006. The claimant, a private tenant in Sheffield, claimed housing benefit in respect of his rent of £745pm (later reduced to £695pm). The claim was referred to the Rent Service which fixed a local reference rent of £433pm (later increased to £455pm). In judicial review proceedings, the judge quashed those determinations. Both had been made using the whole city of Sheffield as the relevant “locality”. The rent officers had based their decisions on Rent Service internal guidance which had inaccurately summarised and wrongly construed the relevant regulations. The likelihood is that all other LRR assessments since December 2001 have been based on the same erroneous guidance. For the transcript, click here:

R(Conville) v Richmond Upon Thames RLBC 10 October 2006. The House of Lords has refused Richmond leave to appeal in relation to this important case on the duties owed to the intentionally homeless. For the Court of Appeal transcript click here:

Radley v Bruno [2006] All ER (D) 116 (Oct), 10 October 2006, Chancery Division. The claimant brought an action for the recission of a lease she had entered into with the defendant tenants. The defendants failed to respond to the proceedings, file a defence or attend a hearing. Judgment in default was entered. Seven weeks later they applied under CPR 13.3 to set aside judgment - relying on difficulties they had experienced in securing public funding. The judge allowed that application. The defendants had a real prospect of successfully defending their claim. Their delay should not deprive them of that.

Earle v Charalambous[No.2] [2006] EWCA Civ 1338, 12 October 2006.The Court of Appeal had to consider “when” a landlord’s liability to pay damages for breach of covenant arose. They held that, on the facts of the particular case, damages for breach of an obligation to repair a roof triggered only on expiry of a reasonable period following notice. The Court added that: “In a future case, it may have to be considered whether the "general rule" as laid down by BT v Sun Alliancerequires some modification to take account of the practicalities of the modern relationship of residential lessors and lessees.” For the transcript, click here:

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council v Thomas [2006] All ER (D) 161 (Oct), 13 October 2006, Chancery Division. The council sought to register title to a parcel of land it had bought in 1969. The adjudicator refused registration and the council appealed. The judge allowed an appeal, rejecting the respondents’ case that they had been in physical possession for 12 years and that they had acquired title by adverse possession.

This week

16 October 2006: Housing Disrepaira 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: Click here for details

19 October 2006: Advanced Judicial Reviewa 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

Garden Court Chambers Seminars

Thursday 2nd November 2006 6.30pm – 8.00pm
“Eligibility” Issues in Housing Seminar
Click Here to boook a place

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