Issue 72 - 8 October 2007

Wednesday 10 October 2007

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Housing News: The Last Week

On Monday 1st October 2007 the new arrangements to enable postponed possession orders (N28A) to be made against assured tenants took effect. The Practice Direction to CPR Part 55 has been modified to extend the provisions enabling landlords of assured tenants to apply for the fixing of a date for possession. The changes are reflected in an updated version of the Practice Direction available by clicking here

On the same day the rules on bringing possession claims were also changed. Landlords relying on a statutory ground for possession will now need to "specify" in their Particulars of Claim the particular statutory ground on which they rely. The new rule appears in CPR 55 PD paragraph 2.4B. The changes are reflected in the updated Practice Direction. For a copy click here

The same Practice Direction updating exercise has brought extensive revisions to the Housing Disrepair Pre-Action Protocol from 1 October 2007. A list of the specific changes can be found by clicking here
Practitioners will want to ensure they are using the updated copy which can be downloaded by clicking here

The Practice Direction revisions which came into force on 1 October also amend CPR PD 65 to add a whole new procedural code for dealing with applications for parenting orders made by councils and social landlords. For the revised Practice Direction (and in particular new section VII) click here

Also on 1 October 2007 new regulations took effect dealing with licensing and management of those HMOs which are buildings converted to self-contained flats. The first are the Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007 For a copy click here

The second are the Houses in Multiple Occupation (Certain Converted Blocks of Flats) (Modifications to the Housing Act 2004 and Transitional Provisions for section 257 HMOs) (England) Regulations 2007. For a copy click here .

A helpful Explanatory Memorandum on the impact of these new rules is available by clicking here

More protection for leaseholders required to pay service charges and management charges came into play on 1 October 2007 with the commencement of Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 s153 which requires residents to be given more information about their rights. For the commencement order click here . For the detailed new regulations click here . A helpful Explanatory Memorandum can be found by clicking here

Housing benefit provisions for tenants who are also shared ownership purchasers were amended on 1 October by the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2007. For a copy click here

On Tuesday 2nd October 2007 the Government published Housing in England 2005-06, which provides housing data on owner occupation and on the social and private rented sectors based on responses to an annual survey of nearly 20,000 households. For the detailed findings click here

On Friday 5th October 2007 the Government gave an update on the operation of the new tenant deposit schemes. The figures show that almost 500,000 deposits have been protected at a rate of over 3,300 new deposits being taken per day in the six months since launch. For the details click here

Last Week's Cases

Osseily v Westminster CC [2007] EWCA Civ, [2007] All ER (D) 64 (Oct), 5 October 2007. The council owed the applicant (who had been homeless) the main housing duty in Housing Act 1996 s193 and made him an offer of accommodation which he refused. The council decided that the offer had been suitable and that the refusal of it brought the duty to an end. The property offered was no longer available but the applicant sought a review. The reviewing officer upheld the decision that the accommodation had been suitable and had discharged the council's duty. The applicant argued that that decision must be wrong in law because by the time of the review decision the once-offered property was not available and therefore could not be suitable at that date. The Court of Appeal rejected that argument. The reviewing officer had been entitled to consider whether it had been suitable when refused. Any other view would require a council to keep empty scare accommodation to await the outcome of a review process. The applicant might have both accepted and sought a review - in order to protect his position - but had not done so.

Mohanaei v Mohanaei [2007] EWCA Civ, [2007] All ER (D) 71 (Oct), 5 October 2007. A man bought a flat for £65,000 and lived in it. The deposit for it had come from his father and, once purchase was complete, title was transferred into the father's name (for no payment). The father later claimed possession. The son contended that at least part of the value of the flat was his - particularly given that the deposit monies had been loaned to him by his father. A judge rejected the son's claim. The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal. The judge had rejected the son's case on the facts open to him.

This Week

This Friday, 12 October 2007, is the closing date of the Law Commission's current consultation on its proposals for Regulating private landlords. It poses the question: 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 by the end of the week. Click here for the details.

Coming Later this Month

17 October 2007. Tenancy Agreements. A Chartered Institute of Housing Conference. Click here for details
17 October 2007. Housing & support for migrants. A Legal Action Group training Event. Click here for details.
23 October 2007. Homelessness. An Advanced HLPA Seminar covering latest developments for members. Click here for details.
29 October 2007. Possession Proceedings and Rent Arrears. A Garden Court Chambers seminar (provided by the LSC) in Manchester. Click here for the 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

Specialist Housing Advice (for Free)

Firms and agencies holding LSC Contracts or Quality Marks can obtain free written or telephone advice on Housing Law 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


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