Issue 76 - 12 November 2007

Monday 12 November 2007

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The Last Week

The opening of the Parliamentary Year 2007/2008 on Tuesday 6 November 2007 saw the announcement of a new Housing & Regeneration Bill. This legislation will extend security of tenure to gypsies and other travellers on local authority sites and will establish a new Office for Tenants and Social Landlords. It may also provide an opportunity for an amendment to the Housing Acts to abolish the concept of "tolerated trespasser". For an outline of the provisions of the Bill click here

The parliamentary programme also includes a Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill which will extend police and court powers to shut down premises which are thought to be sources of nuisance and anti-social behaviour. The Bill had its Second Reading on Wednesday 7 November 2007 and is now in Committee. The relevant provisions are in Part 9 . For a copy of the Bill click here

Last Week's Cases

R(Casey) v Restormel DC [2007] EWHC Admin 2554, 7 November 2007. The claimant was a young homeless woman. The council decided that she had become homeless intentionally. When the claimant applied for a review the council said the application was out of time and that it would not extend time. It asked the claimant to leave her temporary accommodation. A claim for judicial review was issued and an injunction granted requiring the council to continue housing her. A High Court judge rejected the council's application to discharge the injunction and granted permission to continue the judicial review claim. His judgment gives guidance about the terms in which injunctions should be granted and the timetabling of urgent judicial review cases. For the judgment click here

Wandsworth LBC v Randall [2007] EWCA Civ 1126, 7 November 2007. A secure tenant died and his grandson (with whom he lived) succeeded to the tenancy of a four bedroomed house. He then invited his mother and half sister to join him and they moved-in. The council served notice (under Ground 16) that the tenant was underoccupying and offered him a one bedroom flat - on the basis that he had lived alone at the date of succession. A judge granted a possession order but that was set aside on appeal. On a further appeal the Court of Appeal decided that the family for whom alternative accommodation had to be provided was the family in occupation at the date of trial not at the date of death. A three bedroomed property would need to be offered. For a copy of the judgment click here

Southwark LBC v Dennett [2007] EWCA Civ 1091, 7 November 2007 . A secure tenant exercised his right to buy. Over five years later the transaction had not been completed. There were disputes over car parking rights and a series of statutory notices were served by landlord and tenant. A judge decided that the delay was the result of bad faith and misfeasance in public office by unnamed council officers. He awarded substantial damages. The Court of Appeal allowed the council's appeal in part. The judge had been wrong as to misfeasance but had been right to find the tenant entitled (by reason of the delay) to set-off some of the rent he had paid against the purchase price. For the judgment click here

Complaint against Havering Council, 06/A/10428, 8 November 2007. An elderly and very disabled woman remained a virtual prisoner in her own home for five years (until her death) because the council failed to consider either (1) treating her case exceptionally under its housing allocation scheme or (2) whether to take action to respect her Article 8 rights. The ombudsman recommended payment of £10,000 compensation and the council has undertaken a review of all housing applications made over the last five years to determine whether others should also be compensated. For the details click here

Blackwood v Saunders & Co [2007] EWHC (QB), TLQ/07/0698, [2007] All ER (D) 131 (Nov), 8 November 2007. A secure tenant and members of the tenant's family wanted to exercise the right to buy their home. They were given the wrong legal advice by a firm of solicitors and as a result lost their chance to buy at first attempt. They later completed the purchase on a fresh application at a higher price. In addition to claiming damages for the difference in value they asked for compensation for "stress and inconvenience" on the basis that their first attempt to buy had been a therapeutic exercise designed to bring the family together following the recent death of a family member. The judge rejected that aspect of their claim. Even if the facts were made out, this was not the class of case in which such damages could be awarded.

Holmes-Moorhouse v Richmond upon Thames LBC. House of Lords, 8 November 2007. The council has filed a petition seeking leave to appeal in this case concerned with priority need of separated parents with shared care of children. For a copy of the Court of Appeal's judgment click here

Lin v Barnet LBC. House of Lords, 7 November 2007. The House of Lords has refused leave to appeal in this important case concerned with a choice-based housing allocation scheme. For a copy of the Court of Appeal's judgment 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.

This 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. For details click here

Next Week

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

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