Government & Legislation: Last week
At a recent Police Federation conference the Home Secretary, John Reid MP, announced that "...this summer we'll be introducing a new Criminal Justice Bill: to extend your powers to close all premises generating yobbish behaviour - not just crack dens." For a copy of his speech click here This follows consultation on the scope of a new wide-ranging power to close any premises and evict occupiers even in cases not related to use of drugs. For the earlier consultation paper, click here
On 22 May 2007 the Communities Secretary, Ruth Kelly MP, made a Parliamentary Statement on future arrangements for the deferred introduction of home information packs (HIPs). For the statement click here For the accompanying press release click here . A dedicated website on HIPs is available here
On 24 May 2007 the Legal Aid Minister, Vera Baird QC, launched the first Community Legal Advice Centre (CLAC). The new centre will deal with the whole range of social welfare advice including housing advice. For the press release, click here: For more details of the new Gateshead Centre and other CLACs click here
Last week's Cases
R(Kilby) v Basildon DC  EWCA Civ 479, 22 May 2007. The council decided to amend its standard terms of tenancy, including those held by current secure tenants. Their agreements provided that the terms would not be changed without consultation with - and approval from - tenant's representatives. The council gave notice of unilateral variation under Housing Act 1985 ss102-103 and argued that that provision in the current agreement unlawfully fettered its statutory powers. Mr Kilby's judicial review of that decision was rejected by the High Court and the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal. The present clause was incompatible with the council's statutory power of unilateral variation. The Act set out the only ways in which the variation of a secure tenancy could be regulated. It did not allow for delegation to, and a veto by, tenant's representatives. For the transcript click here
Steward v Kingston Upon Thames RLBC  22 May, LAWTEL. Ms Steward gave up conventional housing to live as a traveller in a caravan. She was never able to obtain an authorised site and was repeatedly evicted from unauthorised sites. On her subsequent homelessness application she was found to have become intentionally homeless. The Court of Appeal dismissed a second appeal against that decision. The council had been entitled to hold that Ms Steward had had no "settled" accommodation since giving up her former home. The courts were not failing to give effect to the need to protect the gypsy way of life in making that decision as Ms Steward was not a "gypsy".
Howard De Walden Estates Ltd v Cadogan  EWCA Civ 499, 24 May 2007. Blocks of flats were occupied by long leaseholders of individual flats. The blocks themselves were held on long leases from the freeholders. The "whole-block" leaseholders claimed the right to lease extensions under the Leasehold Reform, Housing & Urban Development Act 1993. The Court of Appeal held that such long lessees did not enjoy the statutory rights to obtain lease extensions. For the transcript click here
Islington LBC v Honeygan-Green  EWHC 1270 (QB), 25 May 2007. A secure tenant gave notice exercising the right to buy her flat at a discount. The right was admitted but the transfer was delayed by difficulties over the division of a garden. Meanwhile, on a rent arrears possession claim, a county court made a suspended possession order on Form N28. Breach of that order caused the tenancy to be lost. The tenant later cleared the arrears and successfully applied to discharge the order and revive her tenancy. She then sought an injunction to compel conclusion of her previous right to buy application. The judge granted that injunction but the High Court allowed an appeal. The previous RTB application had ceased to be effective on loss of the tenancy: Housing Act 1985 section 121. Although the tenancy had revived (and with it a right to buy) the previous RTB application had not revived. The tenant would need to start the process again.
30 May 2007: Mortgage Arrears and Undue Influence. A HLPA Intermediate Training Seminar. For details click here
7 June 2007: Housing Allocation and Homelessness. Two half-day London seminars from Jordans. For details click here
14 June 2007: Private Law Possession Proceedings and Public Law Defences: How do they work? (repeat). Garden Court Chambers evening seminar. Click Here to book a place
21 June 2007: Eligibility for Social Welfare Assistance (repeat) Garden Court Chambers evening seminar. Click Here to book a place