Issue 38 - 20th November 2006
Monday 20 November 2006
Government and Legislation
Two Government Bills concerning housing-related matters received Royal Assent at the end of the Parliamentary Year 2005/2006.
The Police and Justice Act 2006 contains provisions (in Part 2) enabling social landlords to apply for parenting orders and it replaces the current Anti Social Behaviour Injunction. For a copy of the Act click here
The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 contains provisions (in Part 1) enabling a local authority, when taking county court proceedings in which alcohol-related disorder is alleged, to obtain a “Drinking Banning Order". For a copy of the Act click here
The Queen’s Speech on 15 November 2006 outlined the Government’s legislative programme for 2006/2007. The only housing-related measure is the proposed bill to regulate Estate Agents. There was no mention of the Law Commission’s draft Rented Homes Bill. For a copy of the Speech and links to the background briefing papers, click here
On 14 November 2006 the Secretary of State (Ruth Kelly) told housing workers n London that “It is unacceptable for a civilised society like ours to expect homeless 16 and 17 year olds to be on their own in bed and breakfast hotels" and that the practice would be prohibited by 2010. For a copy of the speech click here
On 14 November 2006, the Home Secretary launched a consultation paper Strengthening powers to tackle anti-social behaviour. It proposes a new form of Premises Closure Order enabling a magistrates’ court to prohibit occupation of any property for 3 months (extendable to 6 months). Responses are sought by 6 February 2007. For a copy of the consultation paper click here
Tsfayo v UK  ECrtHR, App No 60860/00, 14 November 2006. The applicant applied to her local council for backdating of her housing benefit. She said that she had “good cause" for her late claim. The council refused and that decision was upheld by a housing benefit review board. She was refused permission to seek a judicial review of that decision. She complained to the European Court of Human Rights that there had been no “independent" determination of her claim for backdating. The Government said that the availability of judicial review met the requirements of Article 6. The Court unanimously held that Art.6 had been infringed and awarded 2000 euros compensation and costs. The decision is likely to have an impact on all housing decisions for which there is only an internal review and then judicial review e.g. in relation to housing allocations, introductory tenancies and decisions on extending time limits. For the transcript click here
Baybut v Eccle Riggs Country Park Ltd  All ER (D) 161 (Nov), Chancery Division, 2 November 2006. The owner of a caravan park gave the caravan owners 6 months notice to terminate their licences to station their caravans on its land. The caravan owners claimed that they had each enjoyed the right to a minimum of 10 years undisturbed occupation. The judge found that they each held only annual agreements (with options to renew) and those were terminable on 6 months notice.
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