Issue 37 - 13th November 2006

Monday 13 November 2006

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Government and Legislation

Last week the Government began pilot-testing of the Home Information Packs required for housing sales transactions by the Housing Act 2004. The pilot began in Newcastle Upon Tyne and is being extended to Northampton, Huddersfield, Southampton, Cambridge and Bath. It starts nationally on 1 June 2007. Click here for the details: http://www.homeinformationpacks.gov.uk/home.aspx

On 3 November 2006 the Government issued the statistics for county court possession actions for July-September 2006. These revealed a 22% increase in the number of mortgage claims over the same period last year and showed that social landlords were still issuing 10,000 rent arrears possession claims a month in the last period before commencement of the new Pre Action Protocol. For the detailed figures click here: http://www.dca.gov.uk/statistics/cjust.htm#part1

Cases

Christofis v Residential Property Tribunal Service [2006] All ER (D) 45 (Nov), Admin Court, 3 November 2006. An assured tenant received a rent increase notice and applied to the Rent Assessment Committee to fix the rent. Following an inspection and hearing, the Committee upheld the notice of increase. The tenant appealed, contending that the RAC had given insufficient reasons for its decision and had failed to deal with a significant aspect of the history of the tenancy. The High Court dismissed the appeal.

Martin-Sklan v White [2006] All ER (D) 77 (Nov), Chancery Division, 7 November 2006. The owner of a family home was made bankrupt. The trustee in bankruptcy sought possession. The house was occupied by the bankrupt’s partner and two children (14 and 10). The children had a substantial network of virtually irreplaceable local support including relatives, neighbours and school counsellors. Weighing the interests of the children and those of the creditors the district judge made an order postponing possession until 2013. The High Court judge dismissed an appeal by the trustee.

Ombudsmen Reports

Investigation 05/B/11750 (Bristol CC) 30 October 2006. The complainant’s home was adjacent to the entrance to a public park owned by the Council. He complained that, despite his frequent reports, the Council failed to take any effective action to deal with the nuisance caused by local youths hanging about at the park entrance. In addition to shouting and swearing, the youths set fires and threw missiles at the property. The Ombudsman found that despite having an anti-social behaviour policy and a specialist Anti-Social Behaviour Team, the Council wholly failed to make any effective response. Not least this was because of lack of familiarity with the policy and procedures in the relevant departments of the council and failures in communication. There was a year’s delay in taking effective action. The Council agreed to pay £2000 compensation and to review its practices and procedures.

Coming Up Soon

14 – 15 November 2006 Housing Conference. Cambourne. CIH Eastern Region. Details from: http://www.cih.org/training/confeast/index.html

15 November 2006 Housing Law Update. HLPA bi-monthly meeting. Details from www.hlpa.org.uk

22-24 November 2006 Homelessness & Lettings Annual Conference. Blackpool. Details from http://www.cih.org/training/lettings/index.html

28 November 2006 Residential Property Tribunals. A London Seminar. Details from: www.hlpa.org.uk

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