Issue 67 - 3rd September 2007

Monday 3 September 2007

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Consultation Conundrum

Housing lawyers and advisers returning after a Summer break will find that time is fast running-out for responses to the most significant range of consultation exercises the sector has ever faced. Those probably most important to housing lawyers are "asterisked" below. The full list of upcoming deadlines and the topics is:

* 10 September 2007. Specialist Housing Advice. In England, the LSC presently funds Shelter and two barristers' chambers to provide free specialist legal advice on Housing Law to front-line advisers. The contracts end in March 2008. Should they be renewed, replaced or re-organised? The LSC seeks your views. Click here for the details.

10 September 2007. Regulating social landlords. Are the standards imposed on council and housing association landlords best monitored and enforced by inspection, regulation, complaints, ombudsmen (which ones?) or the courts? The Government awaits your views on Professor Cave's report. Click here for the details.

11 September 2007. Tenant Power in the Social Rented sector. What are the appropriate adjustments of statutory tools to empower public sector tenants and increase their "voice" in management of council and housing association property? The Government wants your views. Click here for the details.

* 28 September 2007. Housing court or Housing tribunal? Should all possession cases, homelessness appeals and housing-related judicial reviews be transferred to administrative tribunals? That is an option on which the Law Commission wants your views. Click here for the details.

28 September 2007. A new council landlord? The Government is minded to implement proposals to form new unitary councils in nine areas of England. What will happen to tenants of the existing councils in the new structures for those areas? A consultation paper invites views on the right way to implement the changes. Click here for the details.

28 September 2007. National Standards for Housing Benefit. The present national indicators for measuring Housing Benefit performance by local authority benefit departments are to be replaced in April 2008. The DWP is consulting on what the replacement indicators should contain. For the details click here

4 October 2007. Service Charges & Accounts for Leaseholders. Are amendments needed to sections 152 and 156 Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 in relation to landlord's accounts to tenants for service charge expenditure, etc? Government seeks your views. Click here for the details.

* 12 October 2007. Regulating private landlords. How can tenants in the private sector be best assured that landlords will observe legal standards for letting? The Law Commission wants your views on regulation and enforcement. Click here for the details.

* 15 October 2007. Meeting Housing Need. What is the best strategy for meeting Housing need in England? The new Government has three bills in the pipeline and a Green Paper outlining the intended policy direction. It wants your views. Click here for the details.

19 October 2007. Shared-ownership housing. Proposals out for consultation include removing the possibility of shared-ownership leaseholders buying the freehold before they have paid for a 100% share and restricting staircasing (buying in stages) in some areas. Click here for the details.

23 October 2007. Enforcing Building Regulations. Are cowboy builders breaching the Building Regulations but avoiding prosecution? The Government proposes extending the scope for local authority enforcement of the rules. Click here for details.

31 October 2007. Right to Buy. Do the rules about right to buy need to change? If so, how? Government seeks your views on minor changes to be included in new Housing legislation. Click here for the details.

* 2 November 2007. Tolerated Trespassers. Legal nightmare or necessary evil? Legislate to scrap or retain? Government wants your views. Click here for the details

* 9 November 2007. ASBOs. The ASBO is increasingly being used as a tool for managing housing-related antisocial behaviour. When an order is breached, what is the appropriate penalty? A substantial prison sentence, the short-sharp-shock of a limited custodial sentence, or a community penalty? The Sentencing Advisory Secretariat is consulting on what guidance should be given to the judiciary. Click here for the details.

Latest Cases

J. A. Pye (Oxford) Ltd v UK [2007] 30 August. By a majority of 10:7, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has reversed the majority judgment of its Chamber and held that UK limitation rules which allowed title to land to be lost by adverse possession were not in contravention of ECHR Article 1 Protocol 1. For the judgment click here.

The Long Vacation in the domestic Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeal) ends in early October 2007.

Next week's Housing Law Bulletin will contain a digest of the most important Housing cases decided at the end of last Term.

Coming Events

12 September 2007. Introduction to Disrepair (Part 2). A HLPA seminar at introductory level. Click here for details.

13 September 2007. Anti Social Behaviour and Respect - the New Agenda. A SHLA evening meeting. Click here for details.

14 September 2007. Current Issues in Housing & Land Law. A City University Law School Conference. Details from

19 September 2007. Access to housing outside the Housing Acts. HLPA General Meeting. Click here for details.

17 October 2007. Tenancy Agreements. A Chartered institute of Housing Conference. Click here for details

30 October 2007. Anti Social Behaviour in Social Housing. A Lime Legal Conference. Click here for details

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