Issue 44 - 22nd January 2007

Monday 22 January 2007

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Government and Legislation last week

On 19 January 2007 the Scottish Executive concluded its consultation exercise on the relaxation or abolition of the "local connection" rules in the homelessness legislation in Scotland. For a copy of the consultation paper (Modifying Local Connection Provisions in Homelessness Legislation) click here

On 18 January 2007 the Wales Audit Office published Tackling Homelessness in Wales:
A Review of the Effectiveness of the National Homelessness Strategy
containing recommendations for continued improvement in implementation of the strategy for homelessness services in Wales. For a copy of the report click here

Also on 18 January 2007, the Government launched a consultation paper on the future of Disabled Facilities Grants (presently funded to the extent of £126m in 2007/2008). Responses to the paper, Disabled Facilities Grant Programme: The Government's proposals to improve programme delivery, are sought by 13 April 2007. For a copy of the paper click here

On 17 January 2007 the Government established a new agency - Communities England - with an annual budget of over £4 billion to take forward work on housing and regeneration previously handled by the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships. For a copy of the press release click here

On 15 January 2007 the Government published its Housing Research Report Summary 232: Priority review of the uptake by social landlords of legislative powers to tackle anti-social behaviour. It considers the experience and ability of social landlords to handle legal tools to control anti-social behaviour. For a copy click here

Last Week's Cases

R (Hall) v Chichester DC [2007] All ER (D) 119 (Jan), 19 January 2007. The council had first suspended and then terminated payment of housing benefit (HB) to the claimant tenant. She had appealed against those decisions. She sought judicial review of the council's decision to refuse to pay benefit pending her appeal. She claimed that the refusal of benefit had led to her being evicted in breach of her Article 8 right to respect for her home. Her claim was dismissed. The HB regulations allowed a council to revise its decisions but not to both uphold them and pay benefit pending appeal. There had been no interference with Article 8 rights.

Complaint against Milton Keynes Council (05/A/02280), published 16 January 2007. The complainant had been a council tenant for about 10 years. Following his return to his flat after a heart and lung transplant, he complained that he had been caused nuisance by a new tenant upstairs. The council failed to take firm action to deal with the neighbour's behaviour or to re-house on the complainant's request for a transfer. The ombudsman recommended that the council apologise, review its lettings policies, and pay £3500 to the claimant and £750 to his mother (who had pursued his complaint). For a copy of the investigation report click here

Articles

In Accelerated - or not [2007] Law Society's Gazette, 18 January 2007, DJ Neil Hickman reviews the procedural requirements for accelerated possession claims against assured shorthold tenants. For a copy of the article click here

Coming Up

28 February 2007 Public Sector Housing Law, 10th Annual Conference in London. For details, click here

28 February 2007 Homelessness and Allocations, a LAG training course. For details, click here

1 March 2007 Eligibility for Social Welfare Assistance, a free Garden Court Chambers seminar. For details, click here

27 March 2007 Homelessness & Lettings. A Lime Legal Conference. For details click here

29 March 2007 Housing and Anti-Social Behaviour. A Jordans Conference. For details click here

15 April 2007 Private Law Possession Claims: Public Law Defences, a free Garden Court Chambers seminar. For details, click here

"Free" Advice from Specialist Housing Counsel

For the period 1 January 2007 to 30 March 2007, solicitors firms or advice agencies which have LSC Contracts (or are LSC Quality Mark holders) will be able to seek and obtain written advice from counsel on Housing cases without having to first call the Garden Court Chambers Call Counsel advice line. Click here for more details.

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