Issue 50 - 5th March 2007

Monday 5 March 2007

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Government & Legislation Last Week

March 1 2007 was a busy day for developments in relation to gypsies and travellers. The junior minister, Meg Munn MP, gave a speech at a conference on Gypsies and Travelers held by the Royal Town Planning Institute. For a copy click here

Her department published Preparing Regional Spatial Strategy Reviews on Gypsies and Travellers containing research to support the preparation of such reviews on Gypsies and Travelers by Regional Planning Bodies. For a copy click here

And a consultation paper on an Amendment to the Temporary Stop Notice Regulations dealing with stationing of caravans was published inviting responses by 31 May 2007. For a copy click here

The first selective licensing scheme made under the Housing Act 2004 Part 3 has been approved by the Government. It covers part of the Salford Council area. For a copy of the Council's presentation on its objectives for the area click here

The Housing Association (Rights and Representation of Residents) Bill (Bill 35, 2006-07) has been introduced by Emily Thornberry MP. It makes provision about the rights and representation of housing association residents; requirements on housing associations in relation to service delivery and; further provision for the regulation of housing associations. As a Private Members Bill it has limited prospects of success. For a copy click here

Last Week's Housing Cases

Singla v Brown [2007] EWHC 405 (Ch), 1 March 2007. In 1998 a secure sole tenant exercised the right to buy her home. The property was transferred into her name and that of her partner expressly as joint owners and as joint tenants. She later said that her partner's name had only been included as nominee and that she owned 99% of the equity. She gave notice of severance of the joint tenancy. Her partner was made bankrupt and the trustee in bankruptcy applied for a declaration that (1) the severance notice be treated as ineffective and (2) the bankrupt be entitled to a half share. The judge held that the original trust deed had been effective to give both parties a half-interest. The claimant had been entitled to apply for setting aside of the severance notice but, on the exceptional factual circumstances of the case, the court would not exercise its power to set aside.

R (Bennett) v Secretary of State [2007] All ER (D) 15 (Mar), 1 March 2007. Bury MBC adopted a redevelopment scheme in relation to an area of run-down housing. It made a clearance area order and then a compulsory purchase order in respect of the claimant's home. The Secretary of State appointed an inspector to hold an enquiry and approved his recommendations that the purchase order be upheld. The claimant contended that her home was not "unfit" (within Housing Act 1985 section 604) and should not have been made subject to an order. A judge dismissed her claim. There had been a fair procedure during which the claimant had made her objections and had them considered. The inspector had been entitled to reach the decision he had.

This Week

8 March 2007 Housing Advice Conference, a Chartered Institute of Housing Event, London. For details, click here

Next Week

13-15 March 2007 Housing for a World Class Region, a South East CIH Regional Conference, Brighton. For details, click here

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

Later this Month

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

30 March 2007 Social Housing Law & Practice, a Lime Legal Conference. 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 under the heading "New Service":

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