Housing News: The Last Week
On Monday 10 September 2007 the latest homelessness statistics for England were published. They show that the numbers of applications and acceptances are still falling. There are almost 85,000 households in temporary accommodation. For the full details click here . The latest homelessness figures for Wales were published separately earlier in the summer. For those details click here
Also on Monday, the requirements for Home Information Packs were extended to cover three-bedroomed as well as four-bedroomed (and larger) homes. A snapshot survey of the early weeks of the HIP scheme showed that the average pack is taking around 5 days to compile, with major estate agents charging in the region of £300 plus VAT for a HIP, on an upfront or deferred basis - £200 to £250 of which is already paid under the current system. For more details click here
Monday also saw publication of the latest survey by the RICS on the state of the private rented market. It showed that tenant demand for rental property has been boosted by declining accessibility, rising uncertainty and a slowing housing market which has reduced the impetus on would-be home buyers to enter into the market. For a copy of the survey report click here
On Tuesday 11 September 2007 social landlords received new guidance on tackling anti-social behaviour in the form of a toolkit, developed by HouseMark and the Social Landlords' Crime and Nuisance Group (SLCNG) for Communities and Local Government. It is intended to help landlords in meeting the requirements of the Respect Standard for Housing Management and to encourage even more landlords to sign up to the standard itself. For a copy click here
Wednesday 12 September 2007 saw publication by Shelter of the policy discussion paper At any cost? Access to Housing in a changing financial marketplace. The paper notes that, while the growth in more flexible mortgage products has helped more homeowners get on the housing ladder, this has also meant that many are more vulnerable to arrears and possession. It argues that better safety nets are needed to help people facing difficulties. For a copy of the report click here
Last week's Cases
R(Ahmad) v Newham LBC  EWHC (Admin), LAWTEL, 11 September 2007. This claim concerned Newham's housing allocation scheme (part of which operates by way of choice- based letting). In a judicial review, the High Court was satisfied not only that the particular claimant had been wrongly assessed but that the scheme contained the following unlawful features: (1) in prioritising for overcrowding, it only took into account "statutory overcrowding"; (2) it failed to give a "reasonable preference" to applicants in the statutory groups (Housing Act 1996 s167(2)) over straightforward transfer applicants; and (3) it did not enable an appropriate assessment of multiple needs.
Mid Suffolk DC v Upton  EWHC (Admin),  All ER (D) 74 (Sep), 13 September 2007. The defendant was a gypsy and the owner of land on which gypsy caravans and a mobile home had been placed in breach of planning controls. Repeated applications for planning consent failed. The council applied for an injunction under of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 section 187B requiring the removal of the caravans and the mobile home. The claim was resisted by reliance on the more favourable recent guidance contained in ODPM Circular 1/2006. The High Court granted the injunction sought. The Circular had not undermined the council's position and the evidence showed that an alternative site was available.
Specialist Housing Advice (for Free)
Firms and agencies holding LSC Contracts or Quality Marks can obtain free oral or written advice on Housing matters from the team of Specialist Housing Barristers at Garden Court Chambers from now until at least April 2008. For full details click here
Specialist Housing Law Training
Firms and agencies holding LSC Contracts or Quality Marks can send delegates to a host of reduced-cost specialist training sessions this Autumn/Winter in a range of Housing subjects. The trainers include specialists from Shelter, One Pump Court, Doughty Street and Garden Court Chambers. For the full brochure of events click here
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
23 October 2007. Homelessness. An Advanced HLPA Seminar covering latest developments for members. Click here for details.
30 October 2007. Anti Social Behaviour in Social Housing. A Lime Legal Conference. Click here for details
31 October 2007. Successful Housing Litigation. A Jordan Publishing Conference. Click here for the details