Issue 75 - 5 November 2007

Monday 5 November 2007

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The Latest Housing Law News

The close of the Parliamentary Year 2006/2007 saw Royal Assent given to a number of new Acts affecting Housing. They include:

(1) The Greater London Authority Act 2007. Section 28 casts new responsibilities and powers on the Mayor of London in Housing matters. They will come into force on 23 December 2007. For a copy of the Act click here

(2) The Legal Services Act 2007 deals with rights of audience for Housing staff of Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) in certain county court cases concerning anti-social behaviour. For a copy of the Act click here

On 26 October 2007 the Government announced that grant-aid to local authorities in housing matters would be related to their performance in bringing empty homes back into use in their areas and identifying sites for house-building. For the detail click here

On Friday 2 November 2007 the Government ended its consultation on whether measures should be taken to deal with the status of Tolerated Trespassers. Click here for the details of what the government proposed. The response of the Housing Law Practitioners Association can be downloaded by clicking here

On the same day the latest statistics for Possession Claims revealed that landlords were granted another 26,800 possession orders in the third quarter of 2007. For the details click here

Last Week's Cases

Westminster City Council v Boraliu [2007] EWCA Civ, [2007] All ER (D) 34 (Nov), 2 November 2007. A housing association let a house to the council to use as accommodation for the homeless. The council sublet to Mr Boraliu to whom it owed homelessness duties. It later terminated his tenancy by notice to quit and sought possession. The Court of Appeal held that a possession order should be made as the tenancy was not "secure". Both the exceptions in Housing Act 1985 Schedule 1 paras 4 and 6 were reviewed by the court.

R (Couronne) v Crawley BC and R(Bontemps) v Secretary of State [2007] EWCA Civ 1086, 2 November 2007. Groups of British citizens left Mauritius to settle in the UK. They had their origins in the Chagos Islands from which they and their families had been unlawfully displaced by the UK Government. Their applications for homelessness assistance and welfare benefits were refused on the basis that they were not "habitually resident". The Court of Appeal dismissed their appeals. The fact that their original displacement had been unlawful did not require the Government to make special provision for them. They had not been subject to unlawful discrimination on grounds of race because any other British Citizens from outside the Common Travel Area would have been treated in the same way. Articles 8 and 14 had not been infringed and Protocol 1 Art 1 did not apply. For a copy of the judgment click here

Raglan Housing Association v Fairclough [2007] EWCA Civ 1087, 1 November 2007. An assured tenant was convicted of offences that he had carried out while the tenant of another neighbouring property. The landlord obtained a possession order under Housing Act 1998 Ground 14(b)(ii). The tenant appealed on the basis that the Ground was only available where the offence was committed while the tenant was a tenant of the home for which a possession order was sought. The Court of Appeal decided that the Ground was not limited in that way and upheld the possession order. For a copy of the judgment click here

Sandwell MBC v Hensley [2007] EWCA Civ, LAWTEL, 1 November 2007. A police search of a secure tenant's home found an extensive and sophisticated cannabis production system in operation. On his guilty plea the tenant, who had a series of drug-related convictions, was convicted of a further offence. The council obtained a possession order but the judge decided that the order should be suspended for two years in light of information suggesting that the tenant had ceased his pattern of offending. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal and substituted an outright order. The tenant had not given any evidence himself and there was no reasoning sufficient to sustain the judge's judgment.

Knowsley Housing Trust v White. On 29 October 2007 the House of Lords granted leave to appeal in this case. The appeal will determine whether assured tenants can become tolerated trespassers.

R(Heffernan) v The Rent Service. On 29 October 2007 the House of Lords granted leave to appeal in this case. The appeal will determine whether Rent Officers have been lawfully exercising their powers in setting rent limits for housing benefit purposes.

This Week

On Wednesday 7 November 2007 there will be a free Housing Benefit for Housing Practitioners seminar in London. For the details click here

On Friday 9 November 2007 the Sentencing Advisory Secretariat concludes its consultation on what guidance should be given to the judiciary when sentencing for breach of ASBOs. Click here for the details of the consultation paper.

Next Week

14 November 2007. Housing Law Update. The regular HLPA members meeting in London. Click here for details

15 November 2007. Defending "Anti-Social" Tenants. A free Garden Court Chambers seminar.

Later this Month

20 November 2007. Postponed Possession Orders and all that. An Advanced HLPA Seminar covering latest developments for members. Click here for details.

20-22 November 2007. Lettings and Homelessness. The Chartered Institute of Housing's three-day conference in Nottingham. For the details click here.

23 November 2007. Managing Social Housing without Discrimination. A Lime Legal Housing Conference. For the details click here.

Next Month

4 December 2007. Housing Management Conference 2007. A Lime Legal Conference in Manchester. For details click here

5 December 2007. Regulating and Developing the Private Rented Sector. A Lime Legal Conference in London. For details click here

5 December 2007. Housing Disrepair. A Legal Action Group Training Course. Click here for details

7 December 2007. Housing Management Conference 2007. A Lime Legal Conference in London. For details click here

7 December 2007. Social Housing Law Association Second Annual Conference. For details click here

12 December 2007. Introduction to Housing Law. A Legal Action Group Training Course. Click here for details

13 December 2007. Housing Law Practitioners Association Annual Conference. For details click here

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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